People with diabetes learn quickly that there are certain steps they need to take to protect their body. They know to watch out for clothing or shoes that are too tight and keep a close watch on any bruises or cuts that may develop infections. Unfortunately, many diabetics over the age of 50 overlook their dental healthcare needs. For diabetics, taking care of their dental needs is just as important as other aspects of diabetic health.
Diabetes and Periodontal Disease
The mouth is filled with bacteria which can lead to several different types of diseases or infections. However, when this bacteria gets into the gums, it causes periodontal disease. Not only will this disease eat away the gums but the tissues and bones around the teeth as well.
Periodontal disease is common in diabetics. This increased probability of suffering from periodontal disease is partly due to trying to control your blood sugar. Wounds anywhere in the body will take longer to heal if the blood glucose levels are not balanced. And, since diabetics are already prone to get more infections, many times their bodies aren’t prepared to fight periodontal disease.
How a Dentist Can Help
While it’s said that visiting the dentist every six months is the norm, for those who suffer from diabetes, these visits may need to be much more regular. It’s important for diabetics to ask their dentist how often they should come in, so the likelihood of developing a periodontal disease is reduced. In doing so, dentists can help monitor and reduce dry mouth, a result of some diabetic medications.
Dentists can help diabetics by providing patients with regular and thorough cleaning. Not only will this minimize the amount of bacteria in the gums, but it will also increase the control of blood sugar. They may advise using a specific toothbrush or antibacterial dry mouth toothpaste or mouth wash.
Oral Hygiene at Home
Dentists will also be able to give diabetics a clear plan of action for what they can do on a daily basis to improve dental health between visits.
First, blood sugar should always be monitored closely. This is important for general diabetic health but becomes even more vital as diabetics age. Having a controlled diet and consistent exercise plan are two ways that blood sugar can be kept in check. Better control over blood sugar means fewer infections throughout the body, including the mouth.
While brushing and flossing at least twice a day is important for everyone, it’s more important for diabetics. And, for those who wear dentures, these should also be cleaned daily. If not, a mouth fungus, candida colonization, could start to grow, and that could lead to thrush. These are a few ways that diabetics can ensure their dental hygiene.
Dental hygiene is extremely important, especially for aging diabetics. While it’s easy to overlook taking care of the mouth, teeth, and gums, doing so can result in diseases and infections of the mouth. For more information, contact a clinic like Campbell Dental Centre Ltd.