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Dentists will often tell you that oral health and overall health are connected, many times in ways that you may not have previously considered. Whether it’s heart disease, stroke, or diabetes, it’s incredibly important that you keep your current condition in mind when practicing oral health. If you have diabetes, there are certain points you need to keep in mind going forward, and a dentist in Memorial is prepared to do precisely that, especially when it comes to avoiding gum disease.

A person checking sugar levels

How Type 1 Diabetes Affects Dental Health

Did you know that Type 1 Diabetes affects up to 3 million Americans and 30,000 people who are newly diagnosed every year? According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, close to 15 percent of those with Type 1 diabetes are children.

What many people also don’t realize is that those with Type 1 diabetes are more predisposed to developing gum disease than those who do not. One study found that periodontitis was five times more prevalent in those with Type 1 diabetes than those without, making it especially concerning for dentists and diabetic patients alike.

How Type 2 Diabetes Affects Your Oral Care

Much like Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetic patients also saw an increased occurrence for gum disease, whether it was gingivitis (the more mild and reversible form) and periodontitis (the more severe variation.) This may be because those who struggle with glucose management are more susceptible to gum disease overall.

Preventing Gum Disease as a Diabetic

Gum disease is technically an infection that builds in gum tissue over time.  It occurs when bacteria builds up in the pockets of the gums, causing them to become swollen, red, inflamed and generally sensitive to the touch. They can even bleed when brushing, flossing, or eating food. Diabetics are less able to fight off bacterial infections, which is exactly what advanced gum disease is and why it’s so important to know how to prevent it in the first place.

The good news is that diabetics don’t necessarily have to have a special routine to avoid gum disease, but they do need to be vigilant when it comes to their oral health. With the following tips in mind, you’ll be far better equipped moving forward.

  • Brush twice a day for at least two minutes at a time
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Rinse your mouth with ADA-approved mouthwash
  • Visit the dentist once every six months for checkups
  • Chew sugar-free gum to keep saliva production high

Prior to your dental appointment, make sure to:

  • Take medications as needed
  • Maintain your blood glucose levels
  • Eat healthy
  • Inform your dentist of all of your medications
  • Bring blood testing supplies
  • Let your dentist know if you feel unstable from low blood glucose levels
  • Aim for appointments in the morning

Do you have additional questions regarding your oral health and diabetes? Don’t hesitate to contact the dentist directly to learn more!

About Mark Gray DDS

The dentists at the practice take the connection between oral health and overall health very seriously, especially for those with specific health conditions that affect them. Regardless of which type of diabetes you have, they’ll make sure to listen to your concerns and that you have everything you need to maintain positive oral health moving forward. To learn more about their practice or schedule your next appointment, you can contact them through their website.