Diabetes is a common medical condition that affects the amount of glucose (sugar) in blood. Generally, the diagnosis comes along with changes in your lifestyle in order to keep the symptoms in check, since diabetes can have serious, life-threatening complications. So, not only exercise but also adjustments in your diet as well as medications will almost surely come into play. Among these lifestyle changes is the need to visit your dentist at least twice a year. Diabetes can increase your risk of dental disease and other symptoms in your mouth.
Approximately one in five cases of complete tooth loss is related to diabetes. These are very often due to severe gum disease. This dental condition starts out as light bleeding when you brush or floss. This means your gums are irritated with plaque and bacteria. If this disease is left untreated, it might lead to bone loss. Each tooth must be supported by a certain level of bone. If the bone around the tooth is reabsorbed, the tooth will become loose and eventually even fall out. At this stage, the gum disease is non reversible and can only result in the extraction of teeth. Research shows diabetes increases the risk of this condition. Therefore diabetic patients should be extra thorough with their daily cleaning.
Higher blood sugar levels inhibit the production of saliva. This is important because saliva prevents bacteria to stick to the surface of your teeth. Dryness will therefore make you prone to have cavities more quickly. To make things worse, certain medications exacerbate this condition. Diabetics must keep themselves hydrated and treat any signs of cavities as soon as possible.
There is some ongoing research trying to determine why diabetics undergo changes in the way they taste foods. Flavors tend to become less rich. Just be careful not to add too much salt and sugar as these will negatively affect your health and your teeth.
Since diabetes affects your immune system, you will find yourself more prone to infections. This is especially important in patients who wish to undergo dental surgery. You must be extra careful to clean the area after surgery and take antibiotics to prevent any bacterial infection. Patients with dental implants can find their immune system fighting and rejecting the new implant. Also, patients who wear a denture can develop thrush due to the high levels of sugar in your body.
One of the most characteristic symptoms for diabetics is their slow healing. You will notice any kind of sore or cut in your mouth can take weeks to heal completely. This heightens the possibility of developing a bacterial infection. Make sure you use an antiseptic mouthwash or gel to prevent this, especially if you undergo dental surgery.
Diabetes can definitely start new dental conditions or make you prone to need professional assistance. At the Costa Rica Dental Team, we are more than happy to address all those preventative and major dental treatments necessary in order to maintain a healthy smile. Remember, a healthy mouth is the door to a healthy body.
If you still have questions on how diabetes can affect your dental treatment feel free to contact us.