According to US national statistics, around 30 million Americans live with diabetes, with over 90% of these cases being type 2 diabetes. Whilst many people associate diabetes solely around blood sugar levels, people living with diabetes actually experience a number of side effects, one of which is the effect that it has on their oral hygiene.
Effect of Diabetes on your mouth
According to the American Dental Association, diabetes can have a number of negatives effects on your mouth, particularly when it comes to the gums. As a result, it is crucial for your diabetes education that you understand these symptoms in order to help you care for someone, or for your own diabetes self-management. Here are some of the symptoms associated with diabetes:
Diabetes decreases the amount of saliva that you produce, which consequently causes a dry mouth. If left alone, this can cause sore lips, infections and even tooth decay over time.
Glucose is present in your saliva and when too high, plaque can build up in your gums. If left unchecked, this can result in tooth cavities, decay and in certain circumstances even gum disease.
Poor Oral Healing
It is also common for people with diabetes to experience slow recovery when it comes to any dental work done on the mouth or any injuries within the mouth. This is caused by a restriction of blood flow to the particular areas that have been affected.
Whilst these symptoms can occur, should you consistently self-monitor your diabetes, you should be able to restrict them and limit them completely. If you believe you may have experienced some of these symptoms then please read below to find out how you can overcome them.
How can I Improve my Dental Hygiene?
One of the best ways to keep your dental hygiene at a healthy level is to increase your health literacy. This includes everything from calculating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, measuring medications, and understanding nutrition labels. By doing this, you will be able to keep symptoms down to a minimum and consequently reduce the overall impact they have on the body. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, you can also do the following:
1. Keep your blood glucose numbers as close to your target as possible. This number will be set by your doctor, who will teach you how to deal with the different levels.
2. Reduce sugar where possible. Follow the meal plan discussed with your doctor to keep your diet healthy. Also, where possible, include fiber-rich foods in your diet, they have been proven to help with tooth decay later in life.
3. Brush your teeth at least twice a day as well as after any meals high in sugar. Make sure to use fluoride toothpaste as this protects against tooth decay.
By completing all of these on a regular basis, you are able to effectively reduce the impact that type 2 diabetes has on your health, allowing you to live your life without the stress of dental hygiene.
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