If you have diabetes, make sure your dentist knows. Good oral hygiene is something everyone should strive for, but it’s especially important for diabetics. We all have plaque – that thin film of yuk (mostly bacteria) that builds up on our teeth. It’s the stuff the dentist scrapes off of the surface of your teeth and digs out from under your gums.
Research has shown that there’s a relationship between plaque and high blood sugar:
- high blood sugar can cause a higher than normal buildup of plaque, and
- a buildup of plaque can have an affect on your blood sugar levels.
So diabetics need to be hyper-vigilant about keeping plaque from building up on their teeth and gums.
When dealing with their oral health, diabetics should:
- Tell your dentist you have diabetes.
Discuss with your dentist your risk of gum disease and how often you should have your teeth and gums checked. He or she may want to see you more often than the usual once every six months.
- Look out for signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease
Gingivitis is the first level of gum disease. It’s marked by red, puffy or swollen gums (as opposed to healthy pink ones), or gums that bleed easily. Unless addressed early on, gingivitis can proceed to the next level, which is periodontal disease. That’s when gums, teeth, and even the bones of your jaw become painful and infected, leading to tooth loss or changes in the shape of your mouth.
- Brush and floss
Minimize your risk of gum disease by getting rid of plaque every day. Follow every dentist’s recommendation of brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day.
- Consider oral health another reason to control your blood sugar.
Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann of Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland already preach to our diabetic patients about the importance of controlling blood sugar levels, since diabetes is so detrimental to feet. Now you can add oral health to all of the reasons why it’s so important to manage the disease.
If blood sugar levels are tough to control and begin to affect your gums, call your dentist. When diabetes affects your feet, it’s time to consult our expert podiatrists at our office in Solon, Ohio. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or make an appointment online.