Did you know that being a diabetic could cause you to develop significant dental problems without you even realizing it? As such, it’s vital that people with diabetes see their dentist for routine preventive care. Putting these visits off could lead to serious consequences that cost you your smile – and make it much harder to manage your diabetes.
Diabetics Are More Prone to Certain Dental Diseases
You’re likely familiar with many of the complications of having diabetes: from poor circulation to concerns with your eyesight. But, did you know that diabetics are highly at-risk for periodontal disease (also known as gum disease or periodontitis.) This disease causes more tooth loss in American adults than any other dental condition.
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Sensitive gums
- Tooth mobility and gum recession
- “Pockets” under the gums
Unfortunately, the health problems don’t just stop there. Gum disease is also a risk factor for health problems including stroke, heart attack, erectile dysfunction, and a dozen other conditions and diseases
Diabetes and Cavities
Tooth decay is another concern for people living with diabetes.
Some types of diabetic medications can cause dry mouth (xerostomia) which makes it difficult for saliva to naturally rinse away bacteria or acids during the day. People with chronic dry mouth are typically at a much higher risk of developing cavities.
You’ll want your dentist to routinely examine your teeth and take diagnostic x-rays so that tooth decay can be addressed as soon as early symptoms start to develop. Adding a supplemental prescription strength fluoride rinse to your home care routine could offer big benefits.
If You Aren’t Able to Manage Your Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetes already makes it difficult for your body to ward off infections. That’s why the disease and gum disease go hand in hand. The oral infection thrives off bacteria and sugar…something that diabetes makes difficult to control. As inflammation inside of your mouth gets worse, the harder it is for your body to address secondary health conditions or regulate your blood sugar levels.
As a result, the two conditions spiral out of control, one complicating the other.
While it can be especially challenging to stop the cycle, the most straightforward solution is to seek care from your dentist. With therapeutic deep cleanings, he or she can remove infectious bacteria from your mouth, jump-starting the recovery process.
You May Need More Frequent Cleanings
Most people with healthy smiles only need to have a “routine” (preventive) cleaning every six months. For individuals that are at-risk for gum disease, especially diabetics, cleanings may need to be scheduled every three to four months.
For people without dental insurance, doubling the number of cleanings that they need each year can seem a bit excessive. However, the preventive or therapeutic measure is something that your overall health depends on.
Poor Dental Health Can Equate to an Increase in Diabetes Complications
If you’re a diabetic, your dental care shouldn’t ever be put off. Doing so jeopardizes more than just your teeth…it can predispose you to other medical complications and uncontrollable blood sugar levels. As we’ve already discussed, your dental health and diabetes go hand in hand. The more severe one of them tends to be, the more severe the other is likely to become. It takes hard work and dedication to all of the issues to get them back in check.
Is Your Dental Insurance Part of the Problem?
Maybe you’ve ben delaying your next checkup because of a lapse in dental coverage or an inadequate insurance policy. If that’s the case, Cigna Dental Plans can reduce your dental care costs by 10%-50%. Plan members get deep discounts at our nationwide network of accredited dentists.
With the help of a great dental plan, you can schedule up to three or four cleanings a year without breaking the bank. And you can afford the dental care that you need to keep your mouth and body healthy. And if you already have dental insurance, you can use your savings plan to supplement your coverage, if you’ve met your plan’s annual spending limit or need treatments not covered by your insurance policy.