Dental Hygiene is an essential part of good health. For diabetics, problems with the teeth and gums can be more common and more serious than for the average person. For this reason, if you have diabetes dental care is even more important. Being aware of how to take care of your teeth is an essential part of living with Type I and Type II Diabetes.

Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, the gums are among the tissues likely to be affected. Gum disease is a very common infection and occurs when bacteria in the mouth forms into a sticky plaque which adheres to the surface of the tooth.Over time, if the plaque is not removed, it can cause inflammation in the gums (periodontitis) and decay of the enamel portion of the tooth.

One unfortunate side effect of diabetes and high blood glucose levels is the fact that when your body begins to fight infection, blood glucose levels rise in response. Should the infection in your mouth worsen, your food intake is affected, thus affecting your diabetes further. Because of lowered resistance and a longer healing process, periodontal disease often appears to be more frequent and more severe among persons with diabetes.

Xerostomia or Dry Mouth Syndrome is a common complaint among diabetic dental patients and patients undergoing radiation of the head and neck for cancer therapy. Saliva helps wash away food particles and keeps the mouth moist. Without adequate saliva, bacteria continue to colonize. Constant dryness of the mouth irritates the soft tissues often making them inflamed and painful. This condition greatly increases the risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Using a good quality toothbrush and flossing twice daily will help keep your dental health in check. Combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, keeping your blood sugars regular and not smoking will help keep your diabetes under control as well. Making sure that you visit your dentist every six months ensures that you are receiving the professional care you need to keep informed on how your teeth and gums are doing.

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