It’s common knowledge that diabetes can affect different body systems, such as the eyes, nerves and heart.
But did you know that it can also affect your dental health?
In this article, we’re going to explain the link between diabetes and tooth decay and gum disease. We’ll also explain how you can take care of your oral health if you have diabetes.
What’s the link between diabetes and dental health?
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you may have wondered, “Does diabetes affect dental health?” The short answer is yes, so let’s take a look at how the condition can affect your mouth, teeth and gums:
Diabetes can mean that you have less saliva in your mouth. Saliva plays a vital role in washing away the bacteria that cause tooth decay, so you may be more at risk of cavities.
You may also find that your gums are sore or sensitive or bleed when you brush or floss. This could be a sign of gum disease, which needs swift treatment to stop it from getting worse.
If you have diabetes, you will need to be vigilant about any cuts or sores inside your mouth as they can become infected easily. You may also be more vulnerable to the fungal infection thrush. This causes sore white patches in your mouth.
Diabetes and your dental health
While having diabetes may increase your risk of oral health issues, there is still a lot you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy and enhance your overall wellbeing:
- Keep on top of your diabetes medication to ensure your blood sugar levels are under control — if your blood sugar levels are high, it means there’s more sugar in your saliva too, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Brush twice daily and floss once a day to keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy.
- Clean any dentures or removable dental devices daily.
- You should also let your dentist know if they don’t fit properly — if your dentures or devices rub against your gums, you may get an infection.
- Check your mouth regularly for any cuts or sores.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and fibre and reduce your sugar intake.
- Get into a regular exercise routine to enhance your general health and wellbeing.
- Avoid smoking, which is bad for your oral and general health.
- Go and see your dentist for regular check-ups so they can spot any issues early on and get you the right treatment — and be sure to tell them that you have diabetes.
Come and see the team at Opal Dental
Understanding how diabetes affects dental health is just one of the steps you can take to manage your condition well.
Dental health care and diabetes go hand-in-hand, so make sure you are in a great brushing and flossing routine and that you see your dentist regularly so they can pick up any issues before they get serious.
If you’re due a check-up, now is a great time to make that appointment!
Come and see the team at Opal Dental — your friendly family dentist for Te Atatu and surrounding areas — for a regular check-up or for any of our other dental services.
We understand how important it is to keep on top of your oral health when you are living with diabetes, and we will be only too pleased to see you!