People with diabetes face a greater risk of gum problems. The best way to protect against gum disease is to keep good control over your blood sugar. People who don't control their blood sugar well get gum disease more often. And they get it more severely.
How gum disease develops
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold the teeth in place. It's also called periodontal disease. Plaque is a film of germs that builds up and hardens under the gums. This causes the gums to become inflamed. The infection may lead to the loss of bone around the teeth and to tooth loss.
Warning signs of gum disease
Visit your dentist if you have any of the following warning signs:
Remember: There are often no warning signs of early gum disease. Symptoms such as pain and loose teeth do not happen until the late stages. So be sure to have regular checkups. Don't wait for something to hurt before you go to the dentist.
Treating gum disease
Dentists treat gum disease with scaling and root planing. This removes the hard plaque, even below the gum line. Gum surgery may be needed if gum disease is far along. Treatment will only be successful if you brush and floss regularly to keep the plaque from building up again.
Other mouth problems diabetics can have
If you have diabetes you are more prone to fungal infections, such as thrush. Fungus thrives on the high sugar levels in saliva. Medicine can treat thrush. But good diabetic control, not smoking and cleaning dentures every day can prevent thrush.
If your diabetes is not under tight control, you will heal more slowly. You also increase your chance of infection. Increase your chances for a better recovery. Keep your blood glucose under control before, during and after any scheduled dental procedure.
Diabetes is one of the illnesses that can cause dry mouth. You need enough saliva to wash away food and neutralize the acids produced by plaque. Your dentist can suggest ways to restore moisture and protect your teeth.
Taking care of your teeth and gums
You can take important steps at home to keep your mouth healthy:
Diabetes can affect your dental treatment as well as the health of your mouth. Work with your dentist on a treatment plan to meet your needs:
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