While everyone is at risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems, dentist professionals say patients with diabetes are particularly at high risk for these complications. Diabetes, which is the inability to process sugars with insulin, makes the patients sensitive to germs. This means that 12-14 million people need to keep a closer eye on the health of their smile.
Oral Health Problems Caused By Diabetes
Infections are the root of many of the issues a dentist finds in diabetic patients, with the most common being gum and bone infection. Diabetes also decreases the amount of blood flow in the mouth, which limits the body’s ability to fight off intruders. Because of the increase blood sugars, patients also complain of hard-to-treat gum disease and dry mouth. Interestingly, dry mouth also causes the harmful bacteria in the mouth to increase along with plaque and tartar. Tooth decay, inflammatory skin disease, fungal infection, longer healing times, and even taste impairment increases as well.
Detecting Dental Concerns
To keep the effects of these problems down to a minimum, you need to catch these problems as early as possible. The first thing to watch for is the signs of gum disease. This includes a persistent bad breath that doesn’t go away, bleeding gums after brushing or flossing, and sore gums tied with frequent infections. Patients should also tell their dentist about any teeth that seem particularly sensitive, discolored spots, or discomfort or pains that seem out of the ordinary or unassociated with a known cause. Failing to recognize these problems can have very serious consequences. Gum disease, for instance, can cause your teeth to fall out, requiring you to have surgeries. Sections of teeth may need to be removed in order to treat some of the more aggressive infections. Dentist and oral care professionals find these complications frequently cause significant bone loss. As a result, many of the treatment options become unavailable to the patient.
The best way to deal with the increased risk of oral health complications is to focus on prevention. Checkups every six months are a vital step for diabetic patients. Patients will also want to be certain that they inform their dentist of their medical condition so that he or she knows what to look for and how best to treat it. Flossing will need to be performed more often and the teeth need to be brushed more frequently as well. Kicking a smoking habit and keeping a close eye on blood sugar levels can also make a significant improvement. Not only do diabetics have to deal with everyday struggles of life and keeping sugar and insulin levels balanced, but also they have to take extra time with their dental health than most patients. This makes a beautiful smile feel a lot like a distant dream for many diabetic patients. The secret to maintaining good oral health is having the combination of a knowledgeable dentist, a heavy concentration on prevention, and the ability to recognize the symptoms of a problem. No matter how old you are or whether you live in New York or Wheaton, dentist and oral care professional can help.