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Why Does My Dentist Care If I Have Diabetes?

Why Does My Dentist Care If I Have Diabetes

Diabetes can have a widespread impact on your health, primarily if it is not being carefully managed, as diabetes impacts your ability to correctly process sugar. For Type 1 diabetics, their bodies aren’t able to produce enough insulin, while Type 2 diabetics have become insensitive to insulin and no longer responds appropriately.

Both types of diabetes can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels, which in turn impacts your blood flow, and from there, the rest of your body.

So, where does your local Billings, MT, dentist come into this problem? Well, your smallest blood vessels are among the first impacted by diabetes, such as the ones in your feet and mouth. This impact can range from a higher risk of developing cavities to advanced periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease And Diabetes

Periodontal disease—also called gum disease—is particularly hard on those individuals living with diabetes. In fact, gum disease is the most common dental problem that is experienced by diabetics, as the blood sugar levels in their mouths have a direct impact on oral bacteria.

We all have many types of bacteria in our mouths, some good and some harmful. However, when blood sugar levels are not carefully controlled, the harmful bacteria can over-produce and attack the gums, leading to periodontal disease, gum infections, and other dental issues.

Signs Diabetes Is Impacting Your Oral Health

There are several oral health signs associated with diabetes. If you suspect that your diabetes may be impacting your mouth, look for these signs:

  • Inflamed and tender gums
  • Gums easily bleed
  • More likely to have oral infections, which will stick around
  • Your mouth is often dry
  • Children have teeth erupt ahead of schedule
  • Food will taste different or lose all taste
  • Tooth pain triggered by cavities

Should you recognize one or more of these signs, it is likely that your diabetes is interfering with your oral health, and you will need to take steps to protect yourself.

How To Protect Your Oral Health While Living With Diabetes

Depending on what stage you intervene, you can keep your diabetes from causing too much trouble when it comes to your oral health. Along with encouraging you to carefully control your blood sugar levels, below are some of the recommendations we make to our dental patients with diabetes.

Periodontal therapy – If you are suffering from periodontal disease, Dr. Taylor provides a range of periodontal therapy services. These therapies range from non-surgical deep cleaning to different surgical interventions to save your teeth and improve your overall oral health.

Stop smoking – If you have diabetes, it is important that you avoid smoking, as it can compound the problems you face, from losing your ability to taste to making oral infections last longer.

Clean dentures thoroughly – For those who wear partial or full dentures, be sure to clean them thoroughly every day—in the morning before putting them in and at night after taking them out. With consistent cleaning, you can prevent bacteria buildup, sores, and infections from poor cleaning habits.

Regular dental cleanings – Every six months, you should be coming into our dental clinic for regular dental cleanings. During these cleanings, Dr. Taylor can monitor your oral health and ensure that you are on track or make needed recommendations.

Maintain home dental hygiene – Most importantly, you will need to be vigilant when it comes to your home dental hygiene routine. It can be easy to slack off, but just as you need to stay on top of managing your diabetes, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss nightly to keep your oral health in top condition.

If you have diabetes and are concerned about your oral health, be sure to contact us to set up a dental cleaning! During your cleaning, our dental staff can check for issues, and Dr. Taylor can give you specific advice on what dental and oral care you need to keep your smile healthy.

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