Gum disease and diabetes

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Oral Hygiene and Dental Therapy
BOH (NSW)

Pretty young woman brushing her teeth isolatedIf you suffer from diabetes it’s essential that you’re extra diligent when it comes to oral hygiene, as diabetics are at greater risk of developing aggressive gum disease, decay and fungal infections. “When it comes to oral health, healthy living is essential to ensure that gum disease is kept at bay for everyone,” says Dr Peter Alldritt, Chair of the Australian Dental Association’s Oral Health Committee. “The importance of healthy living especially applies for diabetics.” “There is a two way relationship between diabetes and oral health. Although diabetics have greater risk of gum disease, a healthy diet and the right oral health habits will decrease the severity of gum disease as well as improve their blood sugar control.” Diabetics are at greater risk of gum disease because they have a higher risk of infection and are less able to break down sugar levels that result in greater acid levels in the mouth. Diabetes sufferers also experience delayed wound healing, which has implications for wounds or injuries inside the mouth. Diabetics need to be diligent about spotting signs of gum disease, which include:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing, flossing or eating
  • Persistent bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth 
  • Tooth sensitivity, food catching between teeth or loose teeth

Follow these tips to ensure your gums stay healthy:

  • Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Brush twice a day 
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Stop smoking
  • See your dentist for a check-up and professional clean twice a year.

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