If you are a person living with and managing diabetes, good healthcare for you goes beyond just balancing the blood sugar; taking care of your mouth and gums is also an important goal. One oral health problem to keep an eye out for is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth called gum disease. But, just spending that extra moment to care for your mouth and gums can go a long way in avoiding gum disease, which can aid in better diabetes management.
What are the early signs?
According to the American Dental Association, there are several preludes to this condition, such as:
- Bleeding and swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Keeping gums healthy, with just a little bit of extra care
The good news is, preventing and even taking care of early-stage gum disease is easy! The Cleveland Clinic suggests the following best practices to adopt to keep it away:
- Time yourself: Brushing your teeth and gum line for two minutes twice a day is a good rule of thumb. Use a soft bristle brush, unless indicated otherwise by your dentist.
- Floss right: If you ask any dentist the one key oral hygiene practice, which people tend to skip, it’s flossing. Floss every day carefully between each tooth but do it gently by sliding the floss up and down and back and forth to avoid bleeding.
- Remember the tongue: The bacteria find a home in the tongue too, so remember to also gently brush your tongue for a few seconds as a part of your routine. Antimicrobial mouthwashes and tongue cleaners can also help here.
- Eat well: Avoid acidic drinks, which can erode the tooth enamel and may lead to decay. Studies also show that certain diets may help reduce the chances of gum disease, so consult your dentist about what to eat.
- See the experts: Lastly, visit your dentist at least once a year even if you have healthy gums, and if you’ve noticed any of the warning signs, be sure to report it.
Common misconceptions about gum disease
Despite being a common condition, there is plenty of misinformation about gum disease. People diagnosed with this condition often believe that they are going to lose all their teeth. On the contrary, with proper care and guidance from a dentist, this condition can be managed and even cured!
Also, while it is true that people with diabetes can be at a relatively higher risk of getting this disease, being aware of the early symptoms and taking proper preventive measures can go a long way in skewing the odds in your favor!
Thus, maintaining oral hygiene is of utmost importance in healthy individuals, and even more so if you have diabetes. So, make sure to follow the necessary precautions, and live a healthy life with healthy smiles!