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Dental Care and Diabetes

Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. Oct 26, 2015

An older man with a healthy, bright white smileAlthough diabetes is a metabolic disease, it can also affect oral health. Those with uncontrolled diabetes are at greater risk of oral health issues, including gum disease and tooth decay. Restorative dentistry treatments can help repair dental damage and get your oral health back on track. You can help prevent dental damage and protect your smile with these dental care tips for diabetics from Jackson, MS dentist Danny O'Keefe.

Oral Health Issues Associated with Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body has difficulty controlling blood sugar levels. When diabetes is uncontrolled, blood sugar levels may become too high or too low, causing confusion, shakiness, or general health problems. People who suffer from diabetes are also at greater risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.

  • Gum disease: Gum disease is of particular concern for diabetics because they are far more likely to develop gum disease than those without diabetes. Gum disease, which is a bacterial infection of the gums, is more common in diabetics since diabetes inhibits the body's ability to heal itself and fight infection. When left untreated, gum disease can become so severe that it leads to tooth decay and even tooth loss.
  • Tooth decay: People with diabetes are also at greater risk of tooth decay as a result of an increased likelihood of gum disease. Elevated blood sugar levels may also be associated with higher levels of sugar and starch consumption, which can increase the risk of tooth decay. 
  • Tooth loss: Those with uncontrolled diabetes may also suffer from tooth loss as a result of severe gum disease or tooth decay.

Dental Care Tips for Diabetics

If you have diabetes, it is important to undergo regular check-ups with your general physician and your dentist to keep your diabetes and your oral health under control. By following a proper dental care routine and managing your diabetes, you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

  • Floss daily to reduce the risk of gum disease: Flossing daily is highly effective at reducing the risk of gum disease by removing plaque and food remnants from along the gum line and between the teeth. If done daily, flossing can even help reverse mild gum disease.
  • Brush at least twice a day to prevent tooth decay: Brushing the teeth at least twice a day can help reduce the risk of tooth decay by removing plaque, bacteria, and food particles from the surfaces of the teeth. Be sure to brush for a full two minutes each time you brush in order to sufficiently clean your teeth.
  • See your dentist for cleanings and check-ups: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings allow your dentist to catch any signs of damage or concerns early, when they're most easily treated. Professional cleanings can also remove plaque and tartar buildup that brushing and flossing at home can miss.
  • Manage your diabetes: Not only is managing your diabetes important for your general health, it will also help keep your oral health under control. See your general physician for regular check-ups to ensure your diabetes is controlled.

Learn More about Dental Care and Diabetes

For more information about dental care and diabetes, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. O'Keefe.

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