There is a strong link between poor oral health and heart disease.
The risk for heart disease increases even more when you have 2 diabetes and poor oral health.
This is because diabetes already puts you at twice the risk of heart disease than the general population. So when you add poor oral health to the mix you more than double your risk.
The mouth contains thousands of different bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Normally with proper oral hygiene and well functioning salivary glands, these do not cause any problems.
However when the mouth becomes unhealthy due to poor oral health then a number of dental problems can set in.
The most common teeth and gum problems associated with type 2 diabetes are:
- Tooth decay
- gum disease
- altered taste
- fungal infections commonly oral thrush
- dry mouth
Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes can lead to tooth decay and gum disease
Hyperglycemia can cause bacteria and fungi to thrive in the saliva. This accelerates the development of plaque.
Plaque is a hard material that builds up in the mouth. It attaches to the surface and in between the teeth. It can also collect beneath the gum line. When this happens, the gums become inflamed. This is called periodontal disease.
A person living with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk for periodontal disease when their blood sugars are high. Eventually, the gum disease becomes so bad that they lose their teeth.
Here are some signs of periodontal disease. If you have any of these signs then see a dentist as soon as possible
- gums that bleed easily
- red swollen and painful gums
- bad breath
- bad taste
- pus in between teeth or when the gums are pressed
- gums that have been pulled away from the teeth
Diabetes can also fungal infections. The mouth naturally contains thousands of species of bacteria, viruses and fungi. The good thing is that the body’s natural defense system keeps them all in check so that they do not cause any problems.
Oral thrush is a fungal infection that can occur in people with diabetes type 2.
There are several reasons why you can get fungal infections:
- Wearing dentures
- Cigarette smoking
- Dry mouth
How to reduce dental problems
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush. You can also use an electric toothbrush.
- Floss between your teeth at least once a day
- Change your toothbrush at least every 3 months
- Disinfect your toothbrush regularly. You can place it in a microwave or a dishwasher.
- Use an antimicrobial mouthwash
- Watch for any signs of dental problems and inform your dentist
- Quit smoking
- Drink water regularly to keep the mouth moist
- A dash of 100% peppermint essential oil in water is a great natural breath freshener.
See your dentist regularly
- Schedule an appointment twice a year to see your dentist.
- If you have any sores or pain in your mouth be sure to let your dentist know.
- Let your dentist know if your blood sugars are out of control.
- Also, let your dentist know if there is any change in your medical history.
- Do not take any oral medications that could lower your blood sugar before seeing the dentist.
- If you are going to have dental work done and you are taking a blood thinner, be sure to let your dentist know this. The dentist will probably want to get a medical clearance from your primary healthcare provider.
So take the time to make sure that you pay attention to the health of your mouth. That way you will not go through the pain from lost teeth. Let’s face it dental care to replace lost teeth can be very costly. So why not invest in prevention rather than a cure?
To your health and wellbeing,