When you have diabetes it can take its toll on your whole body, including your teeth and gums. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, learning how to manage your blood sugar is essential.
Your mouth naturally has bacteria that interact with starches and sugar to cause plaque buildup on your teeth. If you have high blood sugar there is a greater supply of sugars and starches being supplied to your mouth which means more acid wearing away at your teeth.
Diabetes can also affect your ability to fight off bacteria that can cause gingivitis. When bacteria are not removed by regular brushing and flossing, buildup of plaque will occur at and under the gum line. This buildup will cause irritation to your gums and eventually lead to persistent swelling and bleeding.
If gingivitis is left untreated it can lead to advanced gum disease or periodontitis. Periodontitis destroys the soft tissues and bone that surround your teeth, eventually causing tooth loss.
The good news is you can prevent oral health complications by taking a proactive approach to protecting your mouth. Here are some tips to help keep your smile healthy:
- Brush and floss at least twice a day and be sure to pay special attention to the gum line and hard to reach places. This is essential for everyone, whether you have diabetes or not.
- Schedule a trip to the dentist every six months to have a good deep cleaning and be sure to keep your dentist informed about any medications you are taking and changes in your condition. This is a great preventative measure for diabetics.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking causes dry mouth and can dramatically accelerate oral health problems.
- Most importantly, monitor your blood glucose and keep it as close to normal as possible.