Dental Health Especially Important for Diabetics
Recently, the Journal of the American Dental Association released a study with the finding that one out of five cases of tooth loss in the United States is linked with diabetes; the study highlights an issue that many diabetics don’t concern themselves with as much as the other side-effects of the disease—namely, that dental health and oral hygiene are a major concern when it comes not only to quality of life but managing the disease. Research suggests that the connection between diabetes and dental health goes both ways. In addition to ensuring an adequate supply of diabetic accessories such as test strips, lancets, cheap insulin syringes or insulin pen needles or insulin pump supplies, diabetics should take care to maintain their dental health as much as possible. The diabetic supply company of your choice likely also carries a number of dental health aids specifically developed for diabetics; in addition, your dentist can be an important part of your overall treatment team.
Because of lowered resistance to infection and longer healing processes that go along with diabetes, gum disease is more frequent among diabetics and often more severe as well. While many diabetics are diligent about making use of their blood glucose meters and the testing strips that go with them, and taking their medication—whether oral in the case of type two diabetics or insulin medications delivered by insulin syringes, insulin pen needles, or insulin pumps—some diabetics are less aware of the danger that poor dental health can represent. Fluctuating blood sugar levels play a major role in the development of gum disease; it leads to the body being less able to fight off bacteria, fungi and yeasts, which can contribute to issues ranging from periodontitis to infections. Diminished saliva flow creates an attractive environment for microorganisms, and if dental care isn’t a priority, plaque deposits can evolve into calcified substances referred to as tartar; when tartar collects above the gum line, it becomes more difficult to brush and clean between teeth.
The connection between oral hygiene and health goes deeper for diabetics, as well; many studies have illustrated a link between improved dental hygiene—and treatment for conditions such as periodontitis—and an improvement in blood glucose control. As the structures of the mouth come under attack, the increase in bacteria or other microorganisms make blood glucose levels fluctuate more than they would normally; as any diabetic has heard multiple times before, unstable blood glucose levels lead to increased side effects and health problems. This is why many diabetes care experts recommend that in addition to treating the disease by monitoring blood sugar levels through a home glucose testing kit, and making sure to administer medication properly—through oral medicines, insulin syringes, insulin pen needles or insulin pumps—diabetics should also make sure to brush for two minutes twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily, in addition to visiting your dentist regularly. There are also a number of products that diabetic supply companies carry that can help with diabetes-specific issues such as dry mouth. Consult with your doctor or dentist for his or her recommendations.