If you have diabetes, you are at elevated risk for gum disease. But this fact doesn’t mean that you can’t have good oral hygiene and retain healthy teeth throughout your life. This National Diabetes Awareness Month, we at Southern Cross Dental in Colorado Springs want to share some information about the particular challenges people with diabetes face and what can be done about them.
People with uncontrolled diabetes have a harder time than other people fighting off infections. They have more extreme responses to bacteria, including oral bacteria, so their gums tend to become inflamed more easily and for longer. If the bacteria that trigger gingivitis are allowed to remain, gum disease may progress to periodontitis. When this happens, the teeth come loose and parts of the jawbone deteriorate. People with diabetes also commonly suffer from dry mouth as a side effect of their medication, which means they can’t rely on saliva to neutralize the acid produced by oral bacteria.
Redness, pain, bleeding, and swelling are all symptoms of gum disease. A patient should take these as warning signs that they need to brush and floss more thoroughly. They may also want to consider coming to our office for professional below-the-gum cleaning. People suffering from dry mouth can stimulate more saliva production by sucking sugar-free candy and drinking more water. Chewing sugar-free gum can also dislodge some food debris following a snack, but it is not a substitute for brushing.
Drs. Navid and Faranak Rahimpour operate Southern Cross Dental at 1855 S Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80905-2516. To schedule an appointment, call 719-471-1717 or visit Southern Cross Dental and fill out a contact sheet.