Dental care is an important part of diabetes care.Lack of attention to your oral health can impact your diabetes and vice versa. According to Amy Wacher,MD,clinical leader of Christina Care Endocrinology Specialist in Wilmington,DE,oral health among those with diabetes does not get enough attention.”Typically people think that diabetes only negative impacts the eyes,kidneys,feet,and vascular system.But diabetes can also severly harm oral tissue.”
What are the risks of poor dental care?
People menaging diabetes are at higher risk for several oral diseases.
Infection: if you frequently take antibiotics to fight infections there is an increased risk for developing fungal infections of the mouth and tongue.Called”trush” the fungus feeds on high levels of glucose.
Dry mouth from decreased saliva flow:This can lead to soreness,ulcers,fungal infections and increased tooth decay.
Poor healing of oral tissues:Incisions from surgeries or injures do not heal as quickly becouse blood flow to the area may be restricted.Perhaps the biggest concern for your overall health is periodontal disease (PD).This is a chronic,low-grade infection caused by bacteria collecting around the gums and teeth.
Daily Care Recommendations
Standard daily care is basically the same as the general population.Brush your teeth after every meal.You should brush at a 45-degree angle against the gums and move it back and forth in short strokes.Make sure you clean the front,back and chewing surfaces of your teeth.Use the brush’s tip to clean the inside of the front teeth.
Flossing is another important part of the process.You should:pull off enough floss to wind it around the middle fingers of each hand:hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers;curve it into a C shape against one tooth and gently move the floss back and forth across the tooth and then the side of the tooth in an up and down motion: and repeat until you have flossed all your teeth.Before using any kind of mouthwash,check with your dentist to see what,if any,he or she recommends.Anti bacterial mouthwish can contain up 20% alcohol,which can further dty out your mouth.if your dental care professional thinks it is needed,medicated mouthwashes such as Peridex may be presrcribed.Many dentist will suggest flouride supplement to help keep the teeth stronger.
“Part of the prevention of periodontal disease is knowing how to take care of your gums and teeth.” says Cram.”We can do all of the best treatments in the world,but if you aren’t doing what you need to do every day at home,this disease won’t get better.”
Choosing Your Dental Professional
If you are succesfully controlling your diabetes and no problems with your eyes,kidneys or heart,then you can probably see any general dentist in the community.How often will be decided based on your dental condition.Referral to a periodontist will also be a joint decision.Those who have uncotrolled diabetes,have medical problems or may be hypoglycemic unware should consider a dentist who has additional training and experience in treating medicalyl complicated patients. Your endocrinologist is often a good source for referrals and likely to have other patients who need more specialized dentists.Check with your local hospital to see if they offer a medical dental service.While they may not be best option for dentist.they should know those in the area with extra training.A local dental society is another good resource.
“Make sure you tell your dental care professional that you have diabetes.”says Wacher.”Find out if they can accomodate special need such as stopping the examination long enough to check blood sugars and respond as needed.And ask if they are taking care of other diabetic patients.”