Did you know that diabetes affects millions of people with 1 in 16 people in the UK affected by the disease? According to Diabetes UK, type 2 diabetes is on the rise in the UK and since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has risen from 1.4 million to over 3.5million. And, while you may know that people with diabetes need to monitor their glucose levels carefully, did you know that they are more likely to have dental health problems than those without? In this article, we’ll take a look at how diabetes affects your oral health and tips for keeping your mouth healthy.
How diabetes affects your mouth?
While the health risks of diabetes are well known, not everyone is aware of the effect diabetes can have on your oral health. People with diabetes are more at risk of tooth decay and are also prone to developing periodontal disease, which is the most advanced form of gum disease. Periodontal disease can lead to pain when chewing food, bad breath and tooth loss so if you suffer from diabetes then you need to understand the symptoms. It can also make it more difficult to control your blood glucose.
For those with diabetes, certain medications may make you more susceptible to tooth decay and you should speak with your doctor about this. When it comes to treatment this can be more difficult as you may need to postpone treatment if your blood glucose levels are not stable.
Link between periodontal disease and diabetes
As well as diabetes making you more at risk of developing periodontal disease for those with periodontal disease there is evidence to suggest that you are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And while the medications used to treat diabetes can help you control your blood glucose levels, they can cause changes to your oral health such as xerostomia, burning mouth and candidiasis. There is a strong link between diabetes and periodontal disease and one can easily lead to the other.
Ways to keep your mouth healthy
When it comes to diabetes it’s important to establish a good oral health routine to help keep your mouth and gums as healthy as possible. Your dentist will be able to help with specific advice and help that is tailored to you and the type of diabetes you have. Some general tips include:
- Carefully monitor your sugar intake and avoid food and drinks with high-levels of sugar
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day, but ideally after every meal and floss once a day
- See your dentist twice a year for routine exams and make sure they are aware of your full medical history
- For those that smoke you should work towards quitting as smoking is highly likely to make periodontal disease worse
- Contact your dentist at the first sign of any dental problems as this can help prevent the problem from getting worse