For a normal patient, proper oral care is essential for a healthy body and mind. In diabetic patients, oral health care, especially the health of the gums, is critical. Diabetes UK puts the latest number of diabetics in the UK at 4.7 million patients with this number projected to escalate to 5.5 million in the next ten years. In another study that looked into oral care habits, only 29 per cent of the respondents said that they would be happy to reduce the amount of sugar they consumed while four per cent they had no intention of changing their eating habits.
Three factors play a vital role in helping patients avoid becoming type 2 diabetics; a healthy diet, exercise and in the case of overweight patients – losing weight. The first factor relates to oral care as excessive sugar consumption bears a direct correlation to decaying teeth and deteriorating gum conditions. The role of a dentist in Buckinghamshire in the care of dental health cannot be ignored.
The impact of diabetes on teeth and gums
- Decreases valuable blood supply to gums which increases the likelihood of gum disease.
- Gums are more at risk to gum infection and the development of gingivitis (a type of inflammation that is caused by the build-up of plaque). Worrying symptoms include bleeding gums and swollen gums.
- If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more severe form of infection – periodontitis – a condition that affects tissue and bone that support the teeth. Periodontitis can result in eventual tooth loss.
The danger of gum disease is its progressive nature. Dental experts agree that the earlier gum problems are detected and the sooner treatment is implemented, the better the outcome will be for a patient.
Another major concern in diabetic patients is a condition called dry mouth. The main symptom of this condition is the constant feeling of dehydration. Dry mouth influences the body’s ability to stimulate saliva production. Saliva is necessary to keep the mouth clean as it washes away bacteria. Inadequate saliva production puts teeth at increased risk of dental caries (decay). Associated symptoms include; cracked lips, problems swallowing and dry tongue. The condition can be worsened by consuming certain foods that are salty and spicy, and consuming too much caffeine and alcohol.
Non-negotiable oral health care habits
Be honest with your dental practitioner
Diabetic patients require special dental care which is why being open about the condition is critical. A dental practitioner can perform additional evaluations and assessments and suggest preventive or corrective treatment procedures.
Don’t neglect cleaning the mouth
Cleaning teeth, gums and tongue daily should be a top priority.
Eliminate sugar from your diet
Eliminating foods high in sugar goes a long way to managing diabetes and promoting good oral health. Learn how to read the labels on food packaging to identify hidden sugars in ingredients.
Lack of proper dental care, as promoted by a dental practitioner, adds to the health difficulties of diabetic patients. Problems with the gums, for instance, can adversely affect the management of blood sugar levels and other medical conditions. Arrange a check-up consultation at a dental clinic to assess the impact of your condition now.