Young Diabetic Patient have blood pressure checked before dental cleaning

Importance of Dental Hygiene for Diabetics

Maintaining dental health is important for everyone. For people with certain health issues, such as diabetes, however, taking care of your teeth is even more essential. Diabetics, people with elevated blood sugars, can have issues with their dental health. In this blog post Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry will discuss the oral issues that can be caused by diabetes and ways to prevent these problems.

Dental risks for diabetics:

For diabetics having a difficult time controlling their blood sugar, there is a higher risk of developing oral health issues. High blood sugars weaken white blood cells, which are the body’s main defense against bacterial infections that can occur in the mouth.

Besides the risk of infection, there are some other oral issues that diabetics can be prone to:

Cavities: When sugary and starchy foods interact with the bacteria in the mouth, plaque forms on the teeth. Once this plaque starts to attack the enamel on your teeth, cavities can form. Furthermore, for diabetics with uncontrolled blood sugars, there is an increased risk of tooth decay from the extra sugars.

Gum Inflammation or gingivitis: Since diabetics have a harder time fighting the bacteria in the mouth, there is a higher risk of plaque hardening around the gumline and teeth which turns into tartar. As the body tries to get rid of the bacteria-laden plaque around the gums and teeth, gingivitis can occur.

Periodontal disease: If a diabetic leaves the gingivitis untreated, it can lead to a serious infection, called periodontitis. Periodontitis causes bone loss and teeth can become mobile. This can be especially severe in diabetics due to the fact that their ability to resist infection is lower along with slower healing from the infection.

Dry mouth: People with diabetes are also at risk for dry mouth since they may experience a lack of saliva. Having a lower amount of saliva can increase the risk for gum disease and tooth decay as saliva has natural defenses against the diseases.

How diabetics can prevent dental issues:

If you are diabetic there are ways to prevent some of these oral health issues from occurring. Paying attention to any changes in your teeth is essential and if there is a change, call us immediately.

Here is a list of some other ways to prevent dental damage.

  • Manage your diabetes by monitoring blood sugar levels and follow Dr. Abrams’ instructions in order to keep your levels within your target range.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily, especially in the morning, after meals and snacks if possible, and before bed.
  • Make sure to floss your teeth or use a Waterpik at least once per day. 
  • Communicate to Dr. Abrams that you have diabetes.
  • Schedule regular dental visits and check with our team regarding how often we would like for you to come in. 
  • Continue to monitor your gums for early signs of disease and call us immediately if you notice any changes.

The team at Downtown Franklin Family Dentistry and Dr. Abrams want to make sure that you are taking care of your oral health, especially if you have diabetes. Schedule a visit through our contact form or call us at 615-595-6111.