oral care and diabetes complications
Written by DiabeTV

Individuals with diabetes are well known to be susceptible, more so than the average person, to oral health problems. Their bodies are not as able to readily fight off infections which occur in the mouth, and in addition they have a high chance of developing infections in the first place. This is because those with diabetes often have poorly functioning salivary glands that cannot keep their mouths adequately moisturized. Unfortunately, oral infections and the bacteria which cause them thrive in dry environments such as this. Those with diabetes must be vigilant, even more so than others, in monitoring their oral health to ensure problems are prevented before they arise, or at the very least controlled as much as possible.

The occurrence of dry mouth is often accompanied by a few signs, the most obvious one being a general lack of oral moisture. Other symptoms include: inflammation of the gums, irritation at the corners of the mouth, bad breath and yeast infections found on the tongue, cheeks, and palate. Aside from simply making one prone to oral infections, dry mouth also generally causes issues in attempting to consume or swallow food since saliva acts as a lubricant which helps pass food down the esophagus and break it down into manageable portions.

A few measures can be taken to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth. For those with diabetes, it is crucial first and foremost to properly regulate their blood sugar so that the salivary glands can function as well as possible. Continual hydration by ingesting water not only helps combat the feeling of having a dry mouth, but also fulfils the role saliva normally plays in keeping one safe from infection.  Since there is an increased chance of oral infection from this condition, rather than simply brushing twice a day one should make sure to do so after every meal. Non-alcoholic mouthwash is generally preferred since its alcoholic counterpart has a tendency to further dehydrate the mouth. Lip balm can help alleviate any irritation occurring in the lips due to having a dry mouth.

Sugary drinks must be completely avoided for two reasons. The first is that these sorts of liquids tend to dehydrate an already dry mouth even further, making one that much more prone to infections. But also as most of us know, sugar is inherently bad for our oral health. The bacteria in our mouth which breaks up sugar in turn excretes an acid that wears away at tooth enamel. Those with diabetes already have to contend with a plethora of oral health issues due to dry mouth, ingesting sugary substances simply exacerbates this further.


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