Oral Health and Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease on the rise, particularly amongst children and adolescents. Apart from the serious health problems caused by this condition, there can often be complications you might not expect — and they spell bad news for your gums and teeth. Here’s what to look out for.

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Gum problems

This is one of the most common complaints of diabetes sufferers. In fact, people with diabetes are two times more likely to develop a gum disease which leads to the advanced stage known as periodontitis. As their condition makes them more prone to infections, diabetics are at risk from germs that attack gums.

Dry mouth

Because of the medications they take, people with diabetes may have to endure the side effect of dry mouth. This lack of saliva can lead to other problems such as infections — without saliva, you’re more likely to get a cavity, as there is very little liquid to wash away germs. Be sure to drink plenty of water to maintain a moist mouth.

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the International Diabetes Federation, there were 61.3 million people in India with diabetes in 2011. As this figure continues to rise, India has the second highest rate of people living with diabetes in the world, just behind China.

A two-way street

Unfortunately, not only can diabetes cause gum problems, gum problems can also worsen the uncontrolled diabetes. Once it reaches a certain stage, gum disease can start to affect your blood glucose level, hastening the onset of diabetes or worsening the condition. During each visit, it is important to communicate with your medical doctor and dentist about your oral health and state of diabetes control.

Keep your eyes open

Gum disease does not always make itself known through pain. Chronic gum problems are painless, so you have to be vigilant and visit the dentist for regular check-ups. Kids in particularly may not know what to look out for, so if you notice they have swollen gums, or are bleeding after they brush their teeth, visit a dentist immediately. Loosened teeth or a persistent bad taste in the mouth are also symptoms.

Prevention is the cure

The prevention or control of diabetes is down to make smart lifestyle choices. Eating a healthy diet is important, as is regular exercise 30 minutes a day.

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