Type 2 diabetes is a condition that involves having high blood sugar levels for a long period of time. The high amount of sugar in the blood wreaks havoc with one’s health. High glucose levels in the mouth can lead to more sugar in the saliva. People with type 2 diabetes are around three times more likely to develop dental problems than people who don’t have the condition. The high amount of sugar in the the saliva creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria produces acid which destroys tooth enamel and damages the gums.
High amounts of sugar in the body also damages the blood vessels in the gums, and the risk of infection is high.
Gum disease (periodontal) affects gums and bones supporting the teeth which if left untreated may cause tooth loss.
Severe gum disease can negatively affect the glucose control and increase the chances of suffering from other long-term complications of diabetes.
Those with gum disease – including diabetes sufferers – may experience tender and bleeding gums and in extreme cases, pus between the gums and teeth.
Tips to keeping your mouth healthy
Brush twice a day
Getting into the habit of brushing your teeth in the morning and in the evening will improve the health of the gums and reduce the risk of developing gum disease. When you eat, bits of food mix with the bacteria inside the mouth to form plaque. A build up of plaque can cause major damage to the mouth and the bacteria within the plaque feast on the food left behind. Brushing twice a day improves the health of the gums and every time you do brush you dilute the inflammatory acid and help rid your mouth of the bacteria.
Visit your dentist
Regular visits to your dentist will ensure early diagnosis of tooth decay. Regular visits (every six months) will hep you in diagnosing any conditions you may have early. Even with regular brushing there are still small areas in the mouth that are missed and when plaque builds up it will become more difficult to remove. Seeing a professional will help eliminate any potential problems in your mouth.
Choose the right food and drinks
With most things, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that is low in sugar will help ensure less sugar in your saliva and therefore reduce the risk of bacteria forming in your mouth. Tooth decay happens when plaque comes into contact with sugar and causes acid to attack the teeth. So avoid soft drinks, cookies, pastries and sweets.
One of the worst things you can do to your mouth. Smoking weakens the immune system which makes it more difficult to fight off gum disease. Smokers have more tooth decay than non-smokers and smoking will cause worse periodontal disease than if you don’t smoke.
You should check your mouth for signs of problems from diabetes. If you do notice any problems you should see your dentist immediately.
The first signs of gum disease are tenderness, swelling and bleeding gums and if left untreated could lead to tooth loss.
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