If you are one of the 29.1 million people in the United States living with diabetes, then you know of the major possible health repercussions associated with this chronic illness. Unfortunately, when your body does not create enough insulin to process sugar, it can cause issues with your eyes, kidneys, heart, nerves and even your mouth. While diabetes can greatly impact your oral health, there are ways to manage it! Here are a few of the possible oral health issues to be on the lookout for, as well as ways that you can prevent them from causing any damage.
1. Diabetes can lead to dry mouth.
Studies have shown that those who suffer from diabetes produce less saliva. This ultimately leads to dry mouth, which not only makes you feel thirsty more frequently, but it can also make simple functions like swallowing or even speaking more difficult. However, you can combat the effects of dry mouth, or xerostomia, by drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum.
2. Diabetes makes you more susceptible to cavities.
Saliva is also important for protecting your teeth. Therefore, when your body creates less of it, your teeth become more susceptible to tooth decay. If you have diabetes, it is more important than ever to maintain a solid dental hygiene routine. You should also make sure to visit your dentist at least every six months to protect your teeth from decay and repair any cavities that may have occurred.
3. Diabetes puts you at higher risk for gum disease.
One of the most common oral health issues that diabetics encounter is periodontal (gum) disease. Almost 22% of those diagnosed with diabetes suffer from this condition. Unfortunately, gum disease can cause blood sugar to rise—making diabetes harder to control. Therefore, make sure to floss your teeth frequently. If you notice bleeding of the gums, be sure to visit a dentist straight away as this can be an early warning sign of gum disease.
4. The healing process may take a bit longer.
Poor blood sugar control can sometimes make it difficult to heal after injuries. Therefore, if you have a canker sore or a cut in your mouth, it can be more difficult to recover when you have diabetes. If you notice an ulcer that is just not going away, be sure to bring it to the attention of your dentist to have it checked.
If you have diabetes, it is of the upmost importance that you visit your dentist regularly. Be sure to let us know about your condition so we can help you maintain your oral health. To schedule your next appointment, call Steger Smiles today!