Diabetes and Tooth Loss
Diabetics have unusually high blood sugar levels, which puts them at a higher risk for kidney, eyes, and heart problems. Additionally, diabetes also affects the body’s healing process, slowing it down, while also compromising one’s immunity against infections.
If you’re a diabetic, you probably already have a lot to worry about. Your teeth, though, should be the last of your concerns. But it is, as your condition puts you at risk for periodontal disease, and if left unchecked, tooth loss.
Periodontal Disease and Diabetics
Because of their weakened immune systems, diabetics are more likely to develop infections compared to other people. Periodontal disease, which causes inflammation, and in worse cases, tissue loss and bone less, is a type of infection.
If you don’t manage your diabetes properly, your risk of infection is much higher. In fact, even a simple mouth infection can grow worse in a short amount of time and cause all sorts of problems. This is why plenty of diabetics, regardless of age, suffer from periodontal disease. In fact, it’s not unusual for diabetic children to already have extensive periodontal disease by the time they become adults.
Put simply, the threat of losing teeth and periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease, is very real if you can’t stay on top of your condition.
Preventing Tooth Loss
There’s a silver lining to all of this, though. While your risk of periodontal disease and tooth loss is much higher, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll eventually lose your teeth to periodontal disease. Remember, you’re just at risk; tooth loss is not your destiny.
You can start by taking the time to understand your condition and the many risks that come with it. By doing so, you can make better decisions, especially in regards to lifestyle choices. In particular, you’ll want to refrain from smoking, and if possible, keep alcohol consumption at a minimum.
You will also want to visit the dentist often for regular examinations and professional cleanings. If possible, stick with one dentist and send him or her updates regularly. Your blood sugar levels and any medication you’re taking are vital information. Keep your dentist on speed dial and let him or her know whenever you experience the following: crimson red or bleeding gums, bad breath, difficulty chewing, sensitive teeth, or if any of your teeth are particularly loose.
Your oral care routine at home is also equally important. Brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing at least once is a must if you want to prevent periodontal disease. Always remember to replace your toothbrush every three months, and whenever you get sick. Also, be sure to ask your dentist about prescription-strength, anti-microbial rinses.
In recent years, health experts have also found out that periodontal disease is linked to a variety of complications, including heart attacks and strokes.
So, if you make sure that you stay on top of your diabetes and keep periodontal disease at bay, you end up doing your teeth and your overall health a much bigger favor.