In the United States, more than 29.1 million people are living with diabetes. If you are one of the many people living with diabetes, then you are likely aware of the adverse effects this illness can have on your oral health. However, the good news is that there are ways you can manage it! Here are a few things you can do to ensure you stay in good oral health.
1. Drink plenty of water.
As a result of your diabetes, you may have noticed that you produce less saliva. This condition, known as xerostomia or dry mouth, can make it difficult to chew, swallow, and even speak. To make these important functions easier, be sure to drink plenty of water. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum that contains the ingredient called xylitol to help stimulate saliva production.
2. Consider using an electric toothbrush.
Another important function of saliva is that it neutralizes the acids in your mouth that can otherwise lead to tooth decay. Unfortunately, this means that diabetes can make you more prone to decay and cavities. Therefore, it is particularly important for you to maintain a solid dental hygiene routine. We recommend getting an electric toothbrush to ensure you’re doing a thorough job of removing plaque and debris as you brush.
3. Be very diligent about your flossing.
Unfortunately, periodontal (gum) disease can be a common health issue for diabetics—impacting almost 22% of those with the illness. Gum disease can also cause a rise in your blood sugar, making diabetes even more difficult to control. One of the best things you can do to prevent gum disease is to floss diligently. Make sure you do so at least once every evening, though after meals is also ideal.
4. Keep an eye on your gums.
You’ll want to keep a watchful eye on your gums to ensure they’re in good health. If you notice your gums bleeding when you brush or floss, be sure to make an appointment with your dentist right away. If you notice other symptoms like loose teeth, swelling, tenderness, or a receding gum line, it is important that you visit your dentist, as these can be signs of gum disease as well.
5. Quit smoking.
Smoking can be quite harmful for your oral health, and it is particularly harmful for diabetics. This is because smoking can greatly increase your risk of getting gum disease and create further complications with your diabetes. Therefore, be sure to avoid tobacco products at all costs.
6. Schedule regular dental visits.
Above all, visiting your dentist every six months is critical for maintaining your oral health if you suffer from diabetes. Your dentist will be able to watch for oral health issues like tooth decay and gum disease, as well as provide professional cleanings to renew your oral health.
To schedule your next dentist appointment, call Metro Square Dental Associates in Vernon Hills today!