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Preventive Oral Health Measures for Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that causes serious problems in many parts of the body. And oral health problems are certainly no exception. Oral diseases commonly seen with diabetes include tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, salivary gland dysfunction, infections, and taste impairment. It is important for diabetics to take care of their oral health and hygiene so as not to complicate their situation. The following are ways to prevent oral health problems in patients with diabetes:

Communicate with your physician and your dentist. Ask your doctor to talk to your dentist or periodontist about your overall medical condition before any dental treatment is performed. Inform both your physician and dentist about your condition. Let your dentist and your doctor know everything even your prescribed medication. Provide him/her with your list of medicines and their doses as these can affect further decisions regarding your care. At the very least, your dentist should have your physician’s name and phone number so he/ she can contact your physician with any concern or question regarding your condition.

Monitor your blood sugar. People with diabetes, particularly those with chronic high blood glucose levels, are more susceptible to bacterial infections in the body, including the mouth. In addition to making a person susceptible to infections, high blood glucose levels also inhibit the healing of infections. Regular monitoring of your blood sugar is essential in managing your diabetes.

Regular dental check-up. See a dentist at least twice a year. This is vital for evaluating overall dental health and for treating dental problems in their initial stages as well as preventing them through regular professional dental cleaning.

Brushing. It is the most important thing that diabetics must do in order to keep oral health and hygiene better. Brushing your teeth after each meal and snack will remove bacteria from the teeth and the mouth. This will help prevent tooth and gum problems. Use a toothbrush with soft and round bristles so as not to hurt your gums. Change your toothbrush every three months.

Flossing. Floss removes food particles that remain in your teeth after meals. Use dental floss at least once a day to prevent plaque buildup.

Follow post-treatment instructions. People with diabetes tend to have slowed healing and are at risk of infection, so do whatever you can to help yourself recover completely. Adhering to any post-treatment instructions from your dentist will aid you to full recovery.

Smoking. People with diabetes who smoke are at higher risk – up to 20 times more likely than non-smokers – to develop thrush and periodontal disease. Smoking also seems to impair blood flow to the gums – which may affect wound healing in this tissue area.

Eat sugary products. Sweets increases one’s blood sugar. It also damages the teeth so it is better to avoid sweets and switch to healthy, good food.

Ignore warning signs. Call your dentist if you have any of the following: bleeding, red, swollen, or tender gums, bad breath, gums that have pulled away from teeth, loose permanent teeth, changes in the way your teeth fit when you bite or changes in the fit of partial dentures or bridges.

These tips will guide you in maintaining oral health and managing your diabetes. Do take care of your oral health. Everyone deserves a healthy and pretty smile.

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