This Thanksgiving, Give Yourself the Gift of an Aligned Smile for Ultimate Oral Health

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November is not just about Thanksgiving; it’s also National Diabetes Month. This condition impacts about 37 million Americans, including both adults and children. Oral health is involvedly connected to various health issues, including diabetes. Alongside your primary care physician and other specialists, your healthcare team should also include your dentist

Diabetes increases the likelihood of cavities and infections in the gums and bones that support your teeth, as it reduces blood supply to those areas. If you are over 50 and diabetic, your risk is even higher, mainly because aging itself exacerbates dental issues if proper care isn’t taken. Symptoms like sore or bleeding gums, frequent infections, and chronic bad breath may indicate diabetes and related dental problems requiring attention.

Common Oral Conditions in Diabetics

  • Dry Mouth: Diabetes can cause dry mouth, known as xerostomia, which is not solely age-related. Women are particularly susceptible to lower saliva levels, leading to dry mouth. Healthy saliva contains enzymes that combat harmful oral bacteria.
  • Gingivitis: This early stage of gum disease results from oral bacteria causing your gums to bleed, redden, and become sore. Bacteria thrive on sugar, producing acids that harm your teeth. Unmanaged diabetes leads to higher sugar levels in your saliva, combining with food particles to form plaque.
  • Periodontitis: If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that wears down bone density and the oral tissues holding your teeth in place. Without diligent brushing and flossing, gum pockets form, pulling away from your teeth. Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis can only be managed, not reversed.
  • Oral infections: Fungal yeast infections, known as “thrush,” manifest as white or red patches in the mouth for diabetics. Yeast thrives on excess sugar in saliva, especially in individuals with loose-fitting dentures and those who smoke.
  • Wounds taking longer to heal: This is usual in older adults and diabetics. It also raises the risk of infection. If you have gum or tooth issues, this is problematic because healing takes longer.

Protecting Teeth and Gums in Diabetics

Knowing the connection between oral health and diabetes can help you prevent problems from developing in the first place. In most situations, prevention is always better than cure!

Tips To Keep Your Mouth Healthier

  • Manage your blood sugar by following your doctor’s recommendations on diet and exercise.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene using a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss twice a day, and rinse with antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Protect your enamel and wait half an hour before brushing to neutralize oral acids.
  • Clean your dentures, remove them, and clean them every night; don’t sleep with them in.
  • Quitting smoking now is the perfect time to stop.
  • Regular dental cleanings schedule professional cleanings every six months or as recommended.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mouth

The good news is that diabetes-friendly foods are also tooth-friendly. Enjoy the following dietary choices, which your doctor and dentist will likely approve!