Diabetes is a common disease affecting just under 2 million Australians.
The first signs and symptoms of diabetes can occur in the mouth, so it is important to care properly for your oral health and pay attention to any signs and symptoms. It’s National Diabetes Week 11th– 17 July so we thought it was an ideal opportunity to discuss how diabetes can affect your oral health and what to do about it.
Poorly controlled diabetes increases the severity of gum disease while advanced gum disease makes control of blood sugar levels more difficult. If you are living with diabetes, you need to pay close attention to your oral health and dental care, as well as controlling your blood glucose levels.
The most common oral health problems affecting people with diabetes are:
- periodontal (gum) disease
- gum abscesses
- tooth decay
- fungal infections such as thrush
- lichen planus (an inflammatory, autoimmune skin condition)
- mouth ulcers
- taste disturbances
- a dry, burning mouth (low saliva levels).
How to keep your teeth and gums healthy if you have diabetes:
- Quit smoking – smoking can make gum disease worse. Smokers are up to six times more likely than non-smokers to have periodontal disease.
- Brush and floss properly-gently brush your teeth twice a day using a small, soft toothbrush and a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Spit the toothpaste out, don’t rinse.
- Eat a healthy diet– follow a healthy and balanced diet. Limit how much and how often you have food and drink high in sugar (if you need help with this, see your local Accredited Practicing Dietitian).
- Keep hydrated– drink fluoridated tap water regularly.
- Visit your dentist regularly– Have your teeth and gums checked and cleaned by a dentist once or twice a year (unless they recommend otherwise). Seek advice if you have mouth ulcers, sores, infections or pain in your teeth or gums.
- Protect your mouth– wear a mouthguard if you are playing contact sport.
It is recommended to visit your dentist regularly for advice on how to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
It is important that patients with diabetes inform their dentist and outline the names of all prescribed and over-the counter tablets and medicines being taken.
The team at Mingara Dental & Implant Centre are here to support you and help you to achieve optimal oral health and wellness. Contact us today!