Every year, 1.7 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed—this doesn’t include the 8.1 million people who have diabetes but don’t even know it! In the United States alone, 29.1 million people are living with diabetes. Unfortunately, the body’s inability to process sugar can have major effects on one’s health. It can cause problems with your kidneys, heart, eyes, nerves, and even your oral health. Thankfully, there are ways that you can keep these side effects in check. If you are suffering from diabetes, here are four things you can do to keep your teeth and gums in good condition.
1. Drink water and chew sugar-free gum.
Diabetes can cause your salivary glands to produce less saliva, which leads to an oral health issue known as dry mouth. This can often make you feel thirsty, and also make it difficult to speak or even swallow. Therefore, to help you combat these effects of dry mouth, simply drink more water. Chewing on sugar-free gum will also help to stimulate saliva production and keep your mouth moist.
2. Maintain a thorough dental hygiene routine.
There are a number of reasons why maintaining a solid dental hygiene is helpful for diabetics—particularly when it comes to protecting your dental enamel. Saliva is an important source of protection for your teeth. Therefore, when your body does not produce enough of it, it makes your teeth more susceptible to tooth decay. By maintaining a thorough dental hygiene regimen, you can protect your dental enamel from cavities.
3. Stick to a healthy diet.
Managing your glucose levels when you suffer from diabetes is of the upmost importance for a number of reasons—including your oral health! If your blood sugar spikes, it can lead to dry mouth and make gum disease more difficult to treat. Therefore, try to eat plenty of low-carb vegetables (like spinach, tomatoes, and broccoli) and lean proteins. This will help you to get the nutrients you need without impacting your blood sugar.
4. Visit your dentist at least every six months.
Unfortunately, those with diabetes are at a much greater risk for gum disease—in fact, it affects nearly 22% of those who are diagnosed with the illness. Also, high blood sugar levels can exacerbate the symptoms of gum disease. The best way to combat these symptoms is to visit your dentist every six months. They will be able to detect and treat gum disease in its infancy and keep you in good oral health. If, however, you notice bleeding along the gum line after flossing, be sure to visit your dentist right away, as this is a symptom of gingivitis.
If you have diabetes, we can help you to maintain your oral health. Call Olympia Fields Dental Associates today to schedule your next appointment.