Diabetes is a common health condition, but did you know it can affect your dental health? Your dentist in Katy, TX can work with you to help protect your smile and oral health. In this article, we’ll discuss how diabetes can affect your oral health and some steps you can take to help stay healthy.
Tell Your Dentist in Katy, TX if You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, it’s important to tell your family dentist. Diabetes is a medical condition where your body doesn’t control blood sugar levels as effectively as it could. People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin, the hormone responsible for turning sugar into energy. People with type 2 diabetes typically don’t respond to insulin as well as they should.
Diabetes can affect many different aspects of your health, including your oral health. Therefore, it’s important to tell your dentist if you have diabetes, any medications you’re taking, and whether your condition is controlled. This can help the dentist help you keep your mouth and smile healthy. It’s also generally a good idea to give your dental office the name and phone number of the doctor you’re working with for diabetes management, just in case there are any questions.
How Does Diabetes Affect Oral Health?
Why is it so important to talk to your dentist in Katy, TX about your diabetes? You see, diabetes can take a toll on your body, including on your gums, teeth, and mouth. Diabetes can increase your risk for some oral health conditions. There are a few explanations for this, including higher blood sugar levels and the effects of diabetes on your cardiovascular system, including the vessels that supply blood to your mouth.
Telling the dentist about your diabetes helps you get any specialized dental care you might need. It can also help the dentist assess your risks for certain dental conditions that you might be more vulnerable to.
Risks for Gum Disease with Diabetes
Diabetes can increase your risk for gum disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria infect your gums, cause inflammation, and even break down soft tissue and bone in your mouth. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Having gum disease can even increase blood sugar levels according to some studies. Interestingly, this seems to be a two-way street, as elevated blood sugar levels are also linked to higher risk for gum disease.
Your dentist can work with you to help reduce your risks for gum disease. If you already have gum disease, then the dentist can help design a treatment plan. Some research shows that treating gum disease can even help with blood sugar control, so it’s important to discuss gum disease with your dentist.
If you notice signs of gum disease, talk to your dentist as soon as possible. Some symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red gums
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Pus between the gums and teeth
- Chronic bad taste in mouth
- Chronic bad breath
- Discomfort when biting
- Loose or shifting teeth
Mouth and Tooth Infections
Also, diabetes can increase your risk and vulnerability to infections, including oral infections. Oral infections can include things like advanced gum disease (periodontal disease), dental abscesses, and even fungal infections like oral thrush. Diabetes can also make you heal more slowly. Therefore, any sores in your mouth may be exposed to germs for longer, potentially increasing the risk for infection. Your Katy dentist can help you understand your risks, symptoms to look out for, and how to help prevent oral infections.
Another possible oral health complication of diabetes are cavities. Anyone can get cavities, but those with diabetes may have an increased risk for them. High blood sugar levels can also mean higher sugar levels in your saliva, which can feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Dry mouth may also play a role in the risk for cavities. Practicing good dental hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly can help reduce the risk for cavities and tooth decay.
Dry mouth is also common for people with diabetes. This is because some medications can cause dry mouth, which is where you produce less saliva than normal.. If you take medications for diabetes or complications from diabetes, like high blood pressure, you might have a higher chance of having dry mouth.
The problem with dry mouth is that with less saliva, your mouth may not be able to flush out food and bacteria or neutralize plaque acids as well as it could. Dry mouth can cause bad breath and a whole host of oral health issues, including things like cavities, tooth sensitivity, mouth sores, oral infections, and even difficulties chewing and swallowing. The dentist can help you find treatment options that work for you, such as special mouth washes or lifestyle changes.
Work with Your Dentist In Katy, TX to Design a Dental Health Plan
Getting your blood sugar levels under control and working with your dentist in Katy, TX can help you create a plan to help keep your mouth and smile healthy. Along with controlling your diabetes, there are some other things you can do to help improve your dental health.
Brush & Floss Daily
Brushing and flossing are two of the most important things you can do to help protect your teeth, gums, and mouth. This helps remove bacteria from your teeth, which can also help reduce many oral health risks. Make a point to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. If you have a hard time doing this, the dentist can help you find solutions so you can practice good dental hygiene for your dental and overall health.
Visit your Dentist in Katy, TX for Regular Exams & Cleanings
Another thing you can do to help prevent oral health problems common for those with diabetes is to visit the dentist regularly for exams and cleanings. A good rule of thumb for most people is coming in every six months to get their teeth cleaned and have a dental exam. However, the dentist may recommend coming in more frequently if you have higher risks. Talk to the dentist about your specific situation and how often you should be coming in for an exam.
Visit Your Family Dentist to Talk about Oral Health Symptoms
In addition, it’s important not to ignore symptoms that could mean you’re dealing with an oral or dental health issue. If you notice something feels “off” or you have abnormal symptoms, it’s generally better to be safe than sorry and schedule a visit to the dentist to address them. Early detection and treatment can help stop or slow many oral health conditions, including gum disease, so keep this in mind and don’t be afraid to call the dental office to talk about your symptoms.
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When you need high quality dental care, call our team at The ToothBooth! Dr. Nawar Taha, DDS offers experienced dentistry services, from preventative care and oral surgery to cosmetic services like teeth whitening and veneers. Our goal is to help you achieve a healthy smile. Call us today at (832) 437-0841 to learn more and book an appointment with our friendly dental care team!