Diabetes and Dental Health

If you have diabetes, you stand a greater risk of developing a range of dental health conditions. Find out what you can do to reduce your risk.

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Diabetes patients have a greater risk of developing tooth decay, gum (periodontal) disease, fungal disease, dry mouth, delayed healing, taste impairment and other oral (mouth) health conditions.

Diabetes and Gum Disease

Periodontal (gum) disease is often linked to the control of diabetes. People with inadequate blood sugar control appear to develop periodontal disease more often — including suffering more severe attacks and losing more teeth than people with good control of their diabetes. This is due to the lowered resistance and longer healing process in people with diabetes.

An important part of diabetes management includes having good control of one's sugar levels, ensuring good oral care and going for regular dental check-ups.

Maintain Good Blood Sugar Control

Diabetics who have good control of their blood sugar levels are less likely to develop gum (periodontal) diseases that may result in the loss of teeth. Similar to other infections, serious gum disease may play a role in causing one's blood sugar to rise, and may make diabetes harder to control.

Practise Good Oral Hygiene

Following these basic oral hygiene tips will help you maintain good dental health:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Replace the toothbrush every three months.
  • Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day or use an interdental cleaner. This may help to remove decay-causing plague.
  • If you wear dentures, remove them and clean them daily.

Go for Regular Dental Check-ups

Have regular dental check-ups at least twice a year so you can treat any dental health problems early.

What Information Should You Give Your Dentist?

As a diabetic, you should let your dentist know:

  • You have diabetes mellitus and also inform him of any other medical conditions you may have.
  • Your current treatment, especially if you are on blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin, warfarin, etc.
  • Your current blood sugar level.
  • The name(s) of any supplements you are currently taking.

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