The Importance of Dental Care for Patients with Diabetes
Good oral hygiene habits and regular check-ups by a qualified dentist are recommended to all patients. Protecting the strength and health of the teeth and gums is beneficial to oral health and overall body health, despite a patient’s age or physical condition. However, there are cases in which good oral health habits and routine dental exams and cleanings are even more important. For patients with diabetes, quality dental care is especially beneficial. Those with diabetes are at a greater risk for a number of oral health problems that are likely to require restorative dentistry treatment to improve the condition of the teeth or gums, if left untreated. Dr. Bruce Wilderman understands the unique dental needs of those of his patients who suffer from diabetes. At his practice in Philadelphia, the connection between dental care and diabetes is well understood, and services are provided so that those with diabetes can preserve the strength and health of the teeth and gums.
Oral Health Risks for Patients with Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that can have an affect on the entire body. Those with diabetes have a difficult time controlling blood sugar levels and as a result, white blood cells may be impaired. Because white blood cells are responsible for fighting off bacteria and infections in the mouth, those with diabetes are at a greater risk of a number of oral health problems, especially if diabetes is uncontrolled. Below are some of the oral risks faced by those who suffer from diabetes:
- Dry mouth: Diabetes has been shown to restrict the production of saliva. Because saliva is a cleansing agent for the mouth, those with dry mouth are more prone to oral health problems such as tooth decay.
- Gum disease: Gum disease is essentially an infection of the gums that causes tenderness and swelling. Because patients with diabetes have a difficult time fighting off infection, they are more prone to the various stages of periodontal disease.
- Thrush: Thrush is a fungal infection of the mouth that can cause a burning sensation in the mouth. Fungus thrives off of sugar, so thrush is more likely to develop in those with uncontrolled diabetes.
Oral Health Tips
Because patients with diabetes are vulnerable to oral health problems, it is especially important to care for the teeth and gums at home, and to see a dentist regularly so that oral health can be monitored by a professional. Below are some important oral health tips for those who suffer from diabetes:
- Undergo a dental exam at least twice yearly (depending on oral health and the status of a patient’s diabetes, more frequent exams may be recommended)
- Schedule a dental exam at the first sign of any oral health problems
- Inform your dentist of blood sugar levels and keep open communication between your dentist and doctor
- Brush and floss regularly
- Consider an anti-bacterial rinse to fight off bacteria and prevent oral infections
- Keep blood sugar levels controlled as much as possible
- Following any dental treatment, be sure to closely follow all post-care instructions, as healing may be slower for those who suffer from diabetes
If you suffer from diabetes, it is important to work with an experienced dentist who understands the connection between diabetes and oral health. Dr. Bruce Wilderman is a dentist who knows how to care for patients with diabetes and is dedicated to helping them avoid dental complications. Contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about our dental services and how we can meet the unique needs of those patients with diabetes. We look forward to hearing from you!