Gum disease and dental care in diabetics

People with diabetes are more than twice as likely to have gum disease as people without diabetes. Both gum disease and gum infection are common in people with diabetes. In fact, nearly one-third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal disease.

The key is to have regular dental checkups as well as a good home-care program.

Types of Gum Problems in Diabetes

In addition to tooth decay and gum disease, you may experience other problems which occur more often in people with diabetes.

Thrush or oral candidiasis is a fungal infection in the mouth that causes white or red spots on the tongue. It may cause soreness or a burning sensation in the mouth and may be the result of an increase in the amount of sugar in the saliva. Your dentist may prescribe an antifungal medication for treatment.

Dry mouth (also called xerostomia) is uncomfortable, painful and leads to infection and tooth decay. Your dentist may recommend a saliva substitute, as well as fluoride treatments to help prevent tooth decay. You can help by using sugarless gum or a mint, taking frequent sips of water or using ice chips. Restrict coffee and alcohol consumption.

Preventing Gum Disease
Gum disease is completely preventable. For healthy teeth and gums, make sure you do the following
• Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
• Follow the correct brushing techniques.
• Floss daily.
• Have a regular dental examination.
• Tell your dentist that you have diabetes.
• Eat a well balanced diet.
• Keep your blood sugar in good control.

Source: M. Indhumathy B.Sc., PGDND, MBA, Dept. of Education, M.V.Hospital for Diabetes & Prof. M.Viswanathan Diabetes Research Centre

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