Every time you visit your dentist in Austin you will most likely review your health history and discuss any changes that may have happened since your last appointment. This is an important part of making sure you get the best dental care, but why? Your dentist needs to know what may be going on in other areas of your body because sometimes whole-body problems such as diabetes can increase your risk of dental problems. During this Diabetes Awareness Month, we want to share a few reasons why diabetics may need more dental care than non-diabetics.
Diabetes & Gum Disease
One of the main reasons diabetics may need more dental care is because of the strong link between diabetes and gum disease. In fact, diabetics are at greater risk for gum disease than those without diabetes. Gum disease is an infection that affects the gum tissues. It’s caused by an increase in bacteria that have worked their way up under the gum line. Gum disease can put someone at risk for tooth loss and whole-body problems such as heart disease. But that’s not all. Gum disease, like any infection, can also cause blood sugar levels to increase, making diabetes more difficult to manage.
Caring for Your Oral Health
Because of the increased risk of gum disease, your dentist in Austin recommends that diabetics commit to following good oral hygiene habits. The best way to protect your teeth is to brush for two minutes every day and gently scrub your tongue to remove bacteria. Additionally, make sure you floss daily. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride for added defense, brush in gentle circles, and use a brush with soft bristles. This will help thoroughly clean your teeth without damaging them. And as always, make sure you also see your dentist every six months.
Measure Blood Glucose
The 30 million Americans living with diabetes know just how important it is to measure their blood sugar regularly. They also know that keeping blood glucose levels in check is crucial to protecting their health. Your dentist in Austin encourages all diabetics to measure and record their blood sugar levels daily. Your dental team may even ask for the results of some of your diabetes blood tests (the A1C or fasting blood glucose) or about your need for antibiotics before and after dental treatment for uncontrolled diabetes.
Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy
Avoiding or limiting sugary foods is an everyday part of a diabetic’s life, and it should come as no surprise that this can help protect your teeth, too. But eating healthy goes beyond restricting sugar. Diabetics can benefit from choosing fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Of course, we always recommend working with your doctor to find a diet plan that’s right for you.
The team at our dental office in Austin believes in caring for our patients’ overall health. This means asking for health history, changes in health, and changes in medication. If you’re diabetic, sharing this information can help us better protect your oral and overall health.