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  1. Diabetes effects the Gums: Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and Periodontitis (inflammation of the supporting tissues) is common amongst the oral symptoms. This happens because the blood vessel walls in diabetes get thickened, this slows down the flow of metabolites to and fro from the tissues, thus slowing down their ability to fight bacterial deposits (plaque and calculus), leading to gum inflammation and bone loss eventually.

  2. Diabetics also commonly have reduced salivary flow, leading to dry mouth. Which can lead to ulcers, tooth decay and gum infections.

  3. Oral Thrush is a common effect of high blood sugar levels in the saliva. This is a fungal infection of the mouth and leads to burning  mouth/tongue.

  4. Delayed healing following oral surgical procedures, delayed healing of Dental implants, Increased risk of implant failure are some of the common effects of poor  blood circulation  due to thickening of the vessel walls.

  5. Emerging research also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. 

  6. Diabetes interferes with proper functioning of white blood cells and this makes our oral tissues more susceptible to infection.

Tips for Oral Care in Diabetics

  1. Maintain meticulous oral hygiene by regular visits to the dentist, brushing and flossing regularly.
  2. Keep a steady, controlled blood sugar level. Diet control, exercise, and regular monitoring of blood sugar are ways to help us achieve that.
  3. Look for early signs of gum disease like bleeding, painful and swollen gums.
  4. In case your blood sugar levels are not in control, do let the dentist know before any procedure. All non emergency surgical procedures can be delayed till blood sugar control is achieved. HgA1C is a good indicator for control, a level of below 7% is indicated for oral surgery, dental implant procedures etc.
  5. Antibiotic prophylaxis in consulatation with your diabetes doctor is a must before any surgical dental procedure. A list of medications should be made available to the dentist to check for drug interactions etc.
  6. If you are a smoker, please give it up, as it is additive to high blood sugar levels in terms of effects on the gums and tissues.


 

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