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Dental Issues Become a Problem When You're Living with Diabetes

Dental Issues Become a Problem When You're Living with Diabetes

Diabetes isn’t a disease that’s simply about your body’s inability to function properly with the insulin your pancreas does or doesn’t produce. It’s not a disease that’s the same for every person.


Some might take oral medications, and some might need to take insulin. But one thing is true regardless of where you are with your diabetes - even if you’re the most careful person in the world with monitoring your diabetes, you can still have dental problems.


The Effects of Diabetes on Your Mouth


When you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have problems with dental issues because your body can’t fight back the way it could if you didn’t have the disease. So as a result of that, you’ll find that you may have issues that affect your oral health.


The more uncontrolled your diabetes is, the worse your dental issues will be. A well-known side effect of living with diabetes is dry mouth. This is known as xerostomia and you can have it regardless of the age you are, how long you’ve had diabetes or the type of diabetes that you have.


There are several signs that you might not be aware of that signal you have dry mouth. One of these symptoms is trouble swallowing food. This happens because the condition of dry mouth can present itself as a lack of saliva.


Since saliva is needed to break down the food that you eat, not having enough can make it difficult to chew and swallow your food. Saliva is also needed to help prevent cavities.


When you don’t have enough saliva, you’re more prone to developing both plaque and cavities. With dry mouth, you may notice that your tongue looks different. It can take a dry, cracked appearance and you may notice this same result with your lips.


It’s also common for diabetes to affect your mouth by causing painful sores or infections. You can develop gingivitis or painful gums. This is caused because having diabetes means that your body has a weakened immune system and isn’t able to fight off the inflammation or bacteria that commonly affect the teeth and gums.


As a diabetic, you’re at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. This infection is deep below the surface and can cause serious damage not only to your gums but to your bones as well.


If it’s not caught and treated early, the disease can cause your jawbones to become weak. Having periodontal disease can also make your glucose levels rise. The good news is that this and other mouth issues can be treated and controlled if you keep your sugar levels in a healthy range.


You should also stay away from things that can worsen mouth issues - such as drinking caffeine or alcohol. You should also make sure that you’re drinking plenty of liquid. Not getting at least 8 glasses of water daily can exacerbate mouth problems.


Any time you have a spot in your mouth that doesn’t heal quickly, you should always have your dentist check it out. Because of your diabetes, it can be easier to get a serious mouth infection.


What You Can Do to Fight Back Against Dental Issues


When you have diabetes, you always have to be on the offensive with your health - and that includes your dental health. You want to practice good habits and take care of any problems as soon as you become aware of them.


That means you have to make sure that you keep up with your regular dental appointments. It’s important for diabetics to get their teeth checked every six months. This way, your dentist can spot any problems before they become big issues.


Besides practicing good day to day control over your blood sugar levels, you need to know what your A1C levels are. This test shows an average of what your ranges were for the prior three months.


By having this test, you can determine if you’re practicing good glucose control. If it’s too high, then these results can often alert you to a problem with your dental health long before you even know you have one.


Once you have the results, you can talk to your dentist about them and greater care can be taken to check for underlying and often hidden health problems with your gums. One way to fight back against dental issues starts by watching what you eat.


You don’t have to give up your favorite foods, but you need to eat healthy and this means watching the amount of carbs that you eat every day. Eating a diet that helps control your glucose levels allows you to fight back against any potential dental issues.


When your levels are under control, your body is better able to fight the bacteria and infections in the mouth so you won’t be as prone to having dental problems. Make exercise a habit because this can help your body use the glucose rather than it staying in the bloodstream.


Give up any habits that can worsen dental issues. These would be habits like smoking, which makes a diabetic more vulnerable to poor dental health. Smoking causes problems with the blood flow in the mouth.


Give up habits that bathe your teeth constantly in sugar, such as chewing gum made with sugar or keeping hard candies in your mouth for prolonged periods of time. If you use a hard toothbrush, give it up and instead, brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush.


People who have diabetes are prone to gum problems and brushing with a hard toothbrush can cause a gum irritation. Due to the diabetes, that irritation is more likely to turn into an infection. As a diabetic, it’s better to floss after every meal but at least floss twice a day if you can’t.


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