Diabetes and oral health
Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, converts sugar and other foods into glucose. It then helps carry the glucose from the blood into your cells to be used for energy needed for daily life. Without insulin, your blood glucose level rises.
Diabetes makes all the tissues in your body more susceptible to infection, including the tissues in your mouth. In fact, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop gum disease when their blood glucose levels are poorly controlled. Gum disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque – a sticky colourless film that forms on your teeth. The plaque bacteria release toxins that irritate the gums.
What are the stages of gum disease?
Gingivitis is the earliest stage, a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease only affects the gums. Left untreated, gingivitis may progress to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis.
Gingivitis – Gums are mildly inflamed, may appear red or swollen and may bleed during brushing.
Periodontitis – Gums begin to separate and recede from the teeth. This allows plaque to move towards the roots, supporting fibers and bone.
Advanced Periodontitis – Supporting fibers and bone are destroyed. Teeth become loose and may need to be removed.
How can diabetic patients keep their gums healthy?
With proper dental care and control of blood glucose levels, many people diabetes are able to maintain a healthy mouth. Here are a few tips to help keep your smile healthy and bright:
1. Brush twice a day with toothpaste providing round the clock protection. Use toothpaste that is able to fight tartar build up, bad breath, and helps prevent cavities and plaque.
2. Use a soft bristled toothbrush that designed with special bristles to provide extra care to effectively clean in between teeth and below the gumline.
3. Clean between your teeth daily to remove plaque using interdental aids like floss or an interdental toothbrush. It promotes healthy gums by preventing gingivitis.
4. Avoid smoking and using tobacco.
5. Eat a balanced diet.
6. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination.
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