November is National Diabetes Month; a time focused on improving awareness about the disease. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes. The condition can impact them in a variety of ways, including their oral health.
As a result, your Frisco dentist wanted to take a moment to discuss how diabetes can impact your oral health, including issues you may encounter and how to avoid them. Here’s a look at how diabetes affects your teeth, gums, and mouth, as well as tips to ensure you stay healthy.
When diabetes isn’t well controlled, it can decrease saliva production, causing dry mouth. With dry mouth, sores, ulcers, tooth decay, and infections are more likely. While properly managing your diabetes is an important step to prevent dry mouth, you also want to make sure you stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and, if you still have symptoms, consider using specialized rinses that help combat dry mouth.
Diabetes can cause blood vessels to thicken as well as the weakening of white blood cells, the body’s infection fighters. The flow of nutrients to the mouth can slow due to poor blood flow. Additionally, waste products aren’t cleared away as quickly. Couple that with weakening white blood cells, and the body struggles to fight off oral infections, like gum disease.
It’s also important to note that periodontal disease can make it harder to control blood sugar levels. Eliminating the infections quickly is essential to ensure not just oral health but overall health.
Proper dental care and nutrition can make a difference. This includes maintaining your daily oral healthcare routine, seeing your dentist regularly, and eating plenty of healthy, nutrient-dense foods. If you have gum disease, your dentist can also prescribe antibiotics, if necessary, to eliminate the infection as well as come up with a full treatment plan to improve the health of your gums.
Poor Oral Tissue Healing
The poor blood flow can also slow healing if the mouth is injured or after oral surgery. Following your home care routine is critical. Additionally, if your dentist provides you with instructions, rinses, or medications designed to assist with healing and reduce the chances of infection, they need to be adhered to throughout the treatment process.
Since people diagnosed with diabetes may need to take more antibiotics to handle infections, they are more likely to develop thrush, a fungal (yeast) infection of the tongue and mouth. High glucose levels feed the fungus, and those who wear dentures may be even more susceptible.
Often, antifungal medications are the best way to combat thrush. Your dentist can prescribe the proper treatment based on your needs, ensuring it clears up properly.
If you have diabetes, make sure your Frisco dentist is aware. That way, they can watch out for the conditions above and customize your treatment plan based on your unique needs, ensuring you can improve and maintain your oral and overall health.