When you think about diabetes, you probably think about
controlling your blood sugar, your insulin, and your weight. You might even
think about things like taking care of your circulation and taking snacks with
you. But do you think about your mouth?
Diabetics are more at risk for serious gum diseases, like periodontis (an advanced version of gingivitis) and thrush, a fungal infection. Both can cause soreness and cavities. With advanced periodontis, our gums start to pull away from your teeth and the pockets between the gums and teeth are filled with pussy infection (which, as you can imagine, does not really make your gum problem better). Eventually, the infection can destroy the bone around your teeth and cause the teeth to fall out. Not a pretty picture.
Interestingly, there is a connection for people with diabetes and gum disease. People with diabetes have a greater chance of contracting gum disease generally because they are more susceptible to bacterial infections. This is especially bad because diabetics also have a harder time fighting off infections than people without diabetes.
What can you do to keep your teeth in the best possible health? Here are a few suggestions.
- Make sure you're always taking care of your teeth. Brush, floss, use mouthwash and go to the dentist frequently.
- Control your blood glucose levels, which will help you to fight off infections.
- Avoid smoking to avoid fungal infections like Thrush.
- Tell your dentist that you are diabetic and ask about products that might be especially helpful for you in fighting off gum disease. It's especially important to talk to your dentist about any changes in the condition of your gums quickly - while there's more time to take care of it.
- If you wear dentures, remove and clean them daily to avoid infection in your mouth through them.
Keep in mind that any kind of infection can also wreak havoc on your blood glucose levels. Serious gum disease may cause blood sugar levels to rise, and anything that changes the way your body responds to glucose management makes controlling your diabetes more difficult.
Never forget that checking your blood sugar and eating right are important, but they aren't the only things that matter when you're managing your diabetes.