Diabetes and Your Oral Health
If you have diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing oral health problems like cavities and gum disease. Patients with diabetes need to visit our Oregon City dentistry more often because the disease can reduce the blood supply to the gums, weakening the foundation of their oral health.
Patients over 50 with diabetes have an even higher risk of developing oral health problems. Let’s look at what diabetes can mean to your long-term oral health and why you need to see Dr. Greenstein more often at our Oregon City dentistry.
Patients with diabetes should contact Dr. Greenstein if they:
- Develop sore or bleeding gums
- Frequently develop an infection
- Have persistent bad breath that does not go away
Maintaining control of your diabetes can help to protect your oral health. Protecting your oral health will lower your risk of uncontrolled diabetes. There’s an interconnected nature between gum health and diabetes control. By maintaining healthy teeth and gums, you can better manage to keep your diabetes in check.
Oral Health Problems Linked to Uncontrolled Diabetes
Gingivitis. Early-stage gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is the most common oral health problem linked to diabetes. Gingivitis causes gum tissue to become inflamed, sore, and bleed easily, especially after brushing and flossing.
Oral bacteria feast on sugar, transforming it into acid that erodes tooth enamel. Uncontrolled diabetes means more sugar in your saliva, which means more food for plaque to feast on.
As bacteria collect, they combine with saliva and food particles that linger in the mouth after eating to form plaque. When plaque builds up on the surface of your teeth and along the gum line, it causes tooth decay and gum disease.
Daily brushing and flossing and scheduling regular visits to our Oregon City dentistry will prevent plaque buildup and lower your risk of gingivitis.
Periodontitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. As periodontitis progresses, it attacks the gum tissue and bone structure that holds your teeth into position. If not treated, this disease leads to permanent tooth loss.
When gum tissue becomes inflamed during periodontitis, it begins to pull away from the base of your teeth. This creates pockets along the gum line that allow plaque to accumulate below the gums, where it can attack the roots of your teeth. The longer it goes without treatment, the worse the health of your teeth and gums will become.
Periodontitis cannot be treated by brushing and flossing. Dr. Greenstein will need to provide treatment to repair the damage done by the disease.
Dry mouth. Diabetes reduces saliva production in the mouth. This places you at a higher risk for dry mouth, threatening your long-term oral health.
Saliva acts as the body’s natural defense mechanism against harmful oral bacteria. Saliva works to neutralize plaque acids and flush food particles that linger in the mouth after eating. When your mouth produces too little saliva, your oral health suffers.
Dry mouth can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease while also developing oral sores and ulcers.
Preventing Common Oral Health Problems
By controlling your diabetes, you’ll lower your risk of developing the oral health problems mentioned above. To enjoy a healthy smile, you need to:
- Control your blood sugar levels
- Brush and floss daily
- Schedule regular cleanings with Dr. Greenstein at our Oregon City dentistry
- Quit smoking
- Wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing to protect any tooth enamel weakened by plaque acids
- If you wear dentures, remove and clean them daily. Don’t wear your dentures at night when asleep
Let Dr. Greenstein know if you have diabetes and what medicines you take. If you have trouble controlling your blood sugar, let Dr. Greenstein know so he can work with you to help maintain the health of your smile.