Diabetes is the most common chronic illness: 1.2 million Dutch citizens have diabetes. Because of fluctuating blood glucose levels the immune system of diabetic patients works less well. The consequence? An increased risk of inflammation, infections or other unpleasant diseases. This is one of the reasons why diabetics are faster affected by mouth problems. Want to know how to prevent those? Our oral health adviser wrote an article about it. Read on below.
1. Limit your meal times
Diabetics typically have a modified diet. To keep the sugar level as constant as possible, often small meals and drinks are consumed. For your teeth this isn’t optimal. Every dining or drinking time is an attack on your tooth enamel, the hard protective layer of your teeth. After a sip or a bite, your mouth has to recover from an acid attack for about an hour. So, if you’re eating and drinking throughout the day, your teeth are constantly under attack!
The general advice is to have up to seven eating and drinking moments per day. Try to hold yourself to this number as much as possible and rinse your mouth with water after each meal. This way you can help neutralise the acidity in your mouth. Don’t brush your teeth after eating or drinking, but wait for an hour. If you want a fresh taste in your mouth, use a rinsing agent instead of brushing your teeth.
2. Keep an eye on your saliva
When you’re a diabetic, the properties and structure of your saliva is different. So is the saliva of diabetics is more viscous, which means that the mouth is less humid. A dry mouth is a big risk factor for the development of cavities. Saliva has a buffering effect, as you can read above. If you’ve less saliva, then you’ve a reduced neutralising capacity of your saliva.
Research shows that your blood sugar levels strongly affect your saliva. People with poorly controlled diabetes mainly are affected by changes in their saliva. But please be mindful when you swallow medications. This is also greatly affects your salivation and composition. Read more here about medication and saliva.
3. Visit the dental hygienist
Because you’ve a greater chance to develop gum disease as a diabetic, it’s important to not only visit the dentist but also the dental hygienist. The glucose concentration in your mouth is higher than normally, some bacteria and fungi grow faster. So you’ve a greater chance of fungal infections and gum disease.
In addition, these problems are more difficult to treat than in healthy people. Be sure to tell your that you’ve diabetes and what medication you use. He or she can then consider your treatment plan.
4. Sufficient vitamins and minerals
Did you know that many diabetics have a vitamin D deficiency? There’s even a suspicion that a deficiency of vitamin D can affect the onset of diabetes. So, it’s extra important to get enough vitamins and minerals. Especially when you’re taking medication, the smart thing to do is to use nutritional supplements. Medication use increases the chance for a deficiency in magnesium or vitamin B12, for instance.
There are many different types of supplements and multi vitamins. Make sure you choose a high quality supplement that has a good quality. A multivitamin is easy and often contains all necessary nutrients. blue®m teeth & bone contains both a high dose of magnesium, vitamin D and B12. This supplement is therefore suitable as addition to the daily nutrient needs, especially if you‘re a diabetic.
5. Stable glucose levels
Out of all these tips, there’s only one the most important: make sure that your diabetes is regulated. With proper regulated diabetes you’ve less chance to be affected by all kinds of negative side effects. You’re less likely to have mouth problems too!
Sources: Speeksel en speekselklieren, Patiëntenvoorlichting en mondgezondheid, Parodontologie.
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The ambitious Denise is oral health adviser at blue®m. After having gained extensive experience in biological dentistry, she started studying Oral Hygiene. Her passion is to help people towards optimal oral health.