Practicing good oral hygiene habits is important for all patients. However, it is especially important for patients with diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of oral health problems like gum disease and tooth decay. General dentistry treatments, along with a good oral hygiene routine, can help diabetic patients protect their smiles' beauty and health. Drs. Jay W. Chrisman and David D. Wyse understand the dangers diabetes poses to oral health, making dental care for diabetic patients a priority at our Bloomington, IL practice. For your personalized treatment plan, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Drs. Chrisman and Wyse. In the meantime, discover dental care tips for diabetic patients in this overview.
Diabetes and the Risk to Oral Health
Although diabetes is a disease that impacts the body's ability to process sugars, it's effects are wide reaching and can even impact oral health.
Diabetes can impair a person's ability to heal and fight infection, which is why patients with diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetes, are more likely to suffer from gum disease, an infection of the gums. Gum disease is particularly dangerous to oral health as it can lead to gum recession, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
Diabetic patients may also experience dry mouth, a condition in which insufficient saliva is produced. Saliva plays an important role in oral health because it helps reduce the risk of tooth decay by washing away food remnants, neutralizing acids, and remineralizing the teeth. Without sufficient saliva, diabetic patients are at increased risk of tooth decay.
Dental Care Tips for Diabetic Patients
Being at increased risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss, diabetic patients need to be very mindful of their oral health. Practicing proper oral hygiene and keeping diabetes under control can help patients maintain their oral health. Diabetic patients can help protect their smiles with these dental care tips.
- Don't skip flossing or brushing: Brushing and flossing help reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. You should brush a minimum of twice a day for a full two minutes each brushing. Flossing is especially important for patients with diabetes as it dramatically reduces the risk of gum disease. Floss at least once a day being sure to sweep the floss along both sides of each tooth and as far along the gum line as possible.
- See your dentist for regular exams and cleanings: Regular exams and cleanings should be scheduled at least every six months as these allow your dentist to detect and treat areas of concern in the earliest stages, while professional cleanings prevent plaque and tartar buildup.
- Rinse the mouth with water after meals: Rinse the mouth with water after meals and between brushings to help remove food remnants and neutralize acids in the mouth. Rinsing with water after meals is particularly helpful to patients with diabetes who experience dry mouth.
- Keep your diabetes under control: Keeping your diabetes under control is not only imperative for you general health, it's also important for your oral health. See your physician as recommended, take medications according to your physician's directions, and maintain a diabetic-friendly diet.
- Seek treatment at the first signs of an issue: Many dental issues may start as something minor but if left untreated can become a serious problem. Seek treatment at the first indication of a problem to protect your oral health.
Schedule a Consultation
For more information about dental care for diabetic patients, or for your personalized treatment plan, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Drs. Chrisman and Wyse.