Monday, 2 July 2012

Diabetes and Dental Health

Dental hygiene is an essential part of good health. For diabetics, problems with the teeth and gums can be more common and more serious than for the average person.

For this reason, if you have diabetes dental care is even more important, but it does not mean that you have to adopt a new or different treatment regimen.

Being aware of how best to look after your teeth is an essential part of learning to live with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes and gum diseases

 

Gum disease is a very common infection and occurs when bacteria within the mouth begins to form into a sticky plaque which sits on the surface of the tooth.

Over time, if this is not removed by regular brushing using the correct technique, a gum inflammation called gingivitis can develop.

Gingivitis

 

Symptoms of gingivitis can include:
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding will often occur whilst brushing.
  • Gum disease will stem from untreated gingivitis, and in turn the teeth will begin to decay.
One unfortunate side effect of diabetes and high blood glucose levels is the fact that any infection in or on the body will spread more easily.

Keeping blood glucose levels under control reduces the risk of infection spreading. Unfortunately, when your body begins to fight an infection, blood glucose levels will usually rise in response. Should the infection in your mouth become worse, your food intake could be affected, further affecting your diabetes.

Thrush

 

Thrush of the mouth is also more common amongst people who have poor blood glucose control.

Ways to ensure good dental hygiene as a diabetic

 

Making sure that you visit a dentist every six months ensures that any infection will be treated as early as possible. Minor dental problems can quickly escalate, and a routine visit to the dentist will pick up on these.
In the UK, although diabetic people are more prone to dental problems, they do not receive any extra financial help for dental treatment.

Dental hygiene, diabetes, and heart problems

 

Diabetes can cause excess cholesterol to build up in the bloodstream.

If your gums also have an infection that isn’t treated quickly then bacteria from the infected gums can flow into the bloodstream.

In turn, this may intensify the speed at which arteries are clogged by cholesterol. As a diabetic, make sure that you look after both your teeth and your gums, and visit your dentist regularly.

Diabetes, the toothbrush, and brushing techniques

 

A good quality toothbrush can make all the difference to a brushing routine. Toothbrushes should have soft nylon bristles with rounded ends. They should be used gently and feel comfortable in the hand. A dentist or hygienist will have advice about the best type of toothbrush to use.


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