• How Diabetes can affect your Oral Health and What to do to Help

    Diabetes Australia’s “It’s About Time” campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment for all types of diabetes.

    Diabetes is a common disease affecting almost over 1.7 million Australians.

    The first signs and symptoms of diabetes can occur in the mouth, so it is important to care properly for your oral health and pay attention to any signs and symptoms.

    If you are living with diabetes, you need to pay close attention to your oral health and dental care, as well as controlling your blood glucose levels.

    The most common oral health problems affecting people with diabetes are:

    • periodontal (gum) disease
    • gum abscesses
    • tooth decay
    • fungal infections such as thrush
    • lichen planus (an inflammatory, autoimmune skin condition)
    • mouth ulcers
    • taste disturbances
    • a dry, burning mouth (low saliva levels)

    How to Keep your Teeth and Gums Healthy

    1. Quit smoking – smoking can make gum disease worse. Smokers are up to six times more likely than non-smokers to have periodontal disease.
    2. Brush and floss properly – gently brush your teeth twice a day using a small, soft toothbrush and a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Spit the toothpaste out, don’t rinse.
    3. Eat a healthy diet – follow a healthy diet (if you need help with this, see your local Accredited Practicing Dietitian)
    4. Visit your dentist regularly – seek advice if you have mouth ulcers, sores, infections or pain in your teeth or gums.

    If you wear dentures

    • Gently brush your gums once a day
    • Brush your dentures with a soft brush morning and night
    • Use soap and cold water then rinse well
    • Remove your dentures at night and store them in cold water
    • Make sure your dentures fit well and replace when needed

    Bonus tips:

    • Limit how much and how often you have food and drink high in sugar
    • Wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports
    • Use lip balm with a Sun Protection Factor when outside
    • Keep well hydrated
    • Tell your dentist you have diabetes

    It is advised to visit your dentist regularly for advice about how to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

    The team at Dental Care Professionals are here to support you and help you to achieve optimal oral health and wellness.

    Resources:

    SA Health
    Diabetes Australia

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