Healthy Living

Diabetes and Your Smile

Diabetes and Your Smile

Key Takeaways

  • Diabetes affects all parts of the human body, including the mouth and teeth.
  • Regular dental check-ups, at least twice a year are necessary.
  • Controlled levels of glucose in the blood will prevent oral and dental problems. 

Diabetes is a disease that can affect anyone at any age. The different types of diabetes include type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, as well as gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy.

Diabetes affects all parts of the human body, including also the mouth and teeth. People suffering from diabetes usually have higher levels of glucose in the blood, which weakens the white blood cells. This leads to a decline of the body’s defense against bacteria, increasing the risk for oral and dental problems.

Diabetes increases any risk for the following:

Gingivitis – infection of the gums, characterized by bleeding of the gums, painful gums, red and swollen gums.

Periodontitis – a serious infection of the gums and the surrounding tissue including also the bones, which develops from a progression of gingivitis. Periodontitis can lead to tooth decay.

Dry mouth – due to increased levels of glucose in the blood, the flow of the saliva is reduced, leading to dry mouth.

Thrush – is an infection of the oral cavity from fungi. Diabetic people take antibiotics as a treatment therapy for various conditions more frequently than normal people, making them prone to fungal infections. High levels of glucose in the blood also promote the fungus thrive.

Living with diabetes is not easy, not only for the person suffering from this condition but also for the entire family. Keeping normal or as much as possible normal levels of glucose in the blood will prevent different short-term or long-term complications of diabetes. Normal levels of glucose in the blood will also prevent further damage to the blood vessels and other tissues in the entire human body.

When it comes to oral care and dental care, people suffering from diabetes should take a good care of their oral cavity and their teeth. Regular dental check-ups at least twice a year are very important for the right diagnosis and treatment of various dental and oral problems like gingivitis, periodontitis, tooth decay and tooth loss, tooth problems, etc.

The teeth should be brushed with soft – bristled toothbrush every time after eating. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day in the morning and in the evening, as well as after having a meal, is necessary to prevent damage to your teeth and gums. The teeth should be flossed once or twice a day. Flossing teeth regularly will help you remove the plaque between the teeth and under the gum-line. Plaques are mostly made out of bacteria and they are formed quickly within 24 hours. If plaques are left for a day or two, it is very hard to get rid of them. They can even lead to calculus formation. Dentures should be cleaned daily. Another important thing is to quit smoking as both diabetes and cigarette smoking will damage your teeth.