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Prevent Diabetes

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Diabetes not only puts you at greater risk for eye, kidney and nerve complications, but also for gum disease and dental problems.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you already know that controlling your blood sugar is critical for your health. If you suspect you may have diabetes, make sure to talk to your health provider. One out of four people living with diabetes are unaware they have the condition, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diabetes encourages harmful bacteria to grow.

Too much glucose – also called sugar – in your mouth can feed harmful oral bacteria. These bacteria can lead to plaque – a soft, sticky film. While some types of plaque cause cavities and tooth decay, other kinds lead to bad breath and periodontitis – gum disease.

Unfortunately, having diabetes can make gum disease more severe and make infections take longer to heal. Additionally, having gum disease can make it harder for you to control your blood sugar levels, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Common diabetes dental problems cause many symptoms.

  • Gingivitis – Red, swollen or bleeding gums may be caused by gingivitis.
  • Periodontitis (gum disease) – In addition to red, swollen and bleeding gums, you may have receding gum lines, persistent bad breath and loose teeth. Other symptoms include changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite or dentures that no longer seem to fit properly.
  • Thrush – Sore patches on your gums, tongue, cheeks or roof of your mouth may be caused by an overgrowth of candida.
  • Dry mouth – Cracked lips, a dry feeling in your mouth, a dry or rough tongue, mouth sores and problems chewing, eating, swallowing and talking are all symptoms that you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth.
  • Oral burning – Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can make your mouth dry and cause a burning feeling as well as a bitter taste. Symptoms often get worse throughout the day.

Actions to prevent diabetes dental problems.

The top three things you can do to prevent diabetes dental problems are controlling your blood sugar control, brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist and dental hygienist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist may prescribe a fluoride mouth rinse to prevent cavities.

If you smoke, quit. Quitting smoking will help control thrush. If you wear dentures, make sure you remove them every day to clean them to help prevent thrush.

Gum disease, whether it’s mild or severe, always needs prompt attention. Your dentist can advise you on the most appropriate treatment for you.

Request an appointment at Konikoff Dentistry online or call 1-800-SMILE-23. Konikoff Dentistry has eight convenient locations with three offices in Chesapeake, one in Suffolk and four in Virginia Beach.

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