If You’re Diabetic, You Have One More Concern. Here’s a hint – It’s in Your Smile

August 24, 2014
By Daniel Subbotin BSc, BA, DD
EPICITI - Mobile Dental Care 

Sometimes, the diagnosis of diabetes becomes so startling and so important that we may lose track of other vital concerns in our daily routines. You’ve been so very careful about monitoring your blood, your intake and your doctor visits, you may have forgotten (or didn’t know) how critical it is that you pay special attention to your oral hygiene.

Those with diabetes are at special risk for a number of outcomes that occur as a result of this disease. To begin, you have reduced saliva flow, with the effect of dry mouth. In addition to dry mouth being uncomfortable (and making it difficult for you to speak), unattended dry mouth can lead to other diseases such as ulcers, tooth decay and inflammation.

Another risk you face is that of something called thrush.  No, this is not a songbird or any other flying creature.  It is a fungal infection that occurs in those patients who frequently use antibiotics to fight infection.  As you already know, you are more subject to various infections than most folks, leading to a higher risk of thrush.

Speaking of infection, diabetics are often troubled with gingivitis and periodontal disease.  This condition is more common in seniors anyway, but your risk is compounded with diabetes. Gingiva is the technical term for gums and this disease occurs when bacteria attack your gums and join with food and saliva to create plaque.  With regular brushing and flossing, you can eliminate the plaque, keeping your gums from becoming red and puffy.

As for periodontal disease, this is a more serious state of gum disease and occurs when initial gingivitis is untreated or ignored. In this case, gums pull away from teeth, pockets form between teeth and gums and you face the possibility of gum surgery or eventually, deterioration of your bones. You’ve already guessed what happens next, right?  Yes, that’s it – your teeth become loose and you know the rest of that story.

If you’ve noticed that you don’t heal quite as quickly as you would like, diabetes often slows the healing process throughout the body. The same rules apply for your mouth and if you have oral surgery or other procedures, you are likely to find that will take longer for tissues to resume their previous healthy state.

Finally, if you haven’t already quit smoking, this is a terrific time to do so. Smokers are quite a bit more likely to develop thrush or periodontal disease.  Smoking also slows blood flow, making it take additional time for the oral tissues to heal from any sort of trauma.

Now that you know the several risks you face, you should also know how to minimize them.  As stated above, you’ll need to be especially diligent about brushing and flossing. If you are a denture wearer, use the right sturdy brush, soak in a reliable denture cleaner and take special care to rinse thoroughly.

Above all, make regular dental professional visits a priority that you never compromise.  Be certain that your dentist or denturist knows that you are diabetic so that he or she can identify any possible areas in need of special attention.

You definitely have enough on your mind as a diabetic without needing to worry about your oral health. With some routine care and an understanding of why it’s important, you’re almost at the maintenance stage that will equate to confidence and feeling your best.

Congratulations on guessing correctly about your smile!  Now all you need to do is stay focused, keep brushing and flossing and see your dental professional.  Your smile will be as dazzling as ever! 

 

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EPICITI Mobile Dental Care delivers reliable and affordable mobile house call dental services to the elderly in retirement homes, nursing homes, long-term care centers, hospitals, and residential homes. If you or a loved one have loose, broken or ill-fitting dentures our mobile denturists can help repair, reline or replace old dentures with new dentures through our mobile denture clinic services. For seniors with mobility challenges who cannot make it to the dental office for routine dental cleanings, our mobile dental cleaning services will bring the service right to your home. EPICITI Mobile Dental Care house call dental services are covered by social assistance programs such ODSP/OW, NIHB, Veteran Affairs and also covered by private dental insurance benefits. House call dental services are available in Toronto and surrounding area, including: Etobicoke, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Scarborough, Oshawa, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Markham, Aurora, and Newmarket. Consultations are free of charge. Feel free to contact our team. Remember...we come to you!