November 4, 2019
Almost a tenth of the United States population has some form of diabetes; maybe you or a loved one is already living with the condition. But did you know that patients with diabetes might have extra dental concerns? To celebrate National Diabetes Month, read on to discover how diabetes affects your oral health in Westfield and what can be done about it.
Type I Diabetes and Dental Health
Type I diabetes is when the body doesn’t produce enough of the insulin that allows your body to control blood sugar levels. While it’s less common than Type II diabetes, it still affects up to 3 million Americans with about 30,000 new cases being diagnosed every year. If you have type I diabetes, you’re about five times more likely to suffer from gum disease than they average person. This is because blood sugar problems can make it harder for your body to fight the oral bacteria that can cause infections.
Type II Diabetes and Dental Health
Type II is by far the most common type of diabetes. It differs from type I diabetes in that the issue lies with the cells themselves; basically, your body doesn’t respond to insulin as well as it should.
Like with type I diabetes, type II puts you at a higher risk for gum disease. There’s also evidence that shows gum disease could make your diabetes worse. This means it’s more important than ever to maintain excellent oral hygiene; keeping your teeth and gums clean is the best way to avoid an infection!
Preventing Gum Disease as a Diabetic
Here are the best dental care practices that are absolutely essential for good gum health – especially if you have diabetes!
- Brush twice a day for two minutes at time. Don’t forget to hold your brush at an angle towards the gum line and brush in a circular motion. Make sure that you’re cleaning every surface.
- Don’t forget to floss daily! There are many spaces in your mouth that you just can’t reach with a toothbrush.
- Rinse with a mouthwash approved by the ADA to kill oral bacteria that you’ve missed while brushing and flossing.
- Chew sugar-free gum after meals to boost saliva production and keep your teeth clean.
- Make sure that you’re maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis. Normally two checkups a year are needed, but if you have specific dental concerns you might need more frequent appointments.
No matter what kind of diabetes you have, oral hygiene needs to be part of your routine; in the long run, not only will you protect your smile, but you’ll also protect the rest of your body from the potential complications of a gum infection!
About the Author
Dr. David M. Weinman chose to work in dentistry because he enjoys meeting and helping people while exploring his interests in science and art. Thanks to the extensive education and training that he continues to undergo even to this day, he’s able to stay on top of his field and provide all kinds of oral health services, including gum disease therapy. If you are a diabetic with concerns about dental hygiene, you can make an appointment by visiting his website or calling (908) 654-7200.
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