If eyes are the windows to the soul, then the mouth is the gateway to the body. This may sound like a badly phrased idiom; nevertheless, it emphasizes a very important fact that the medical fraternity recognizes and keeps stressing— good oral hygiene is not just good for your mouth; it is good for your entire body and overall health as well!
This is particularly true if you are diabetic. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more the chances of your developing oral health problems such as dry mouth, gingivitis (early gum disease), periodontitis (advanced gum disease), thrush, and so on. All of these ultimately take a toll on your general health and well being. For example, research has shown that serious gum diseases can adversely affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes and ultimately other major health problems. A dry mouth can give you ulcers and sores, which may be very difficult to heal.
To prevent these, you must take proper steps to ensure oral health. These include:
Brushing and flossing
Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, talk to your dentist about choosing the right toothpaste, toothbrush, and mouthwash for you. Usually, fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes as well as soft-bristled toothbrushes are recommended for diabetics.
As a diabetic, you should brush your teeth in the morning, at night, and after meals. However, if this is not possible, make sure you brush in the morning and at night and rinse your mouth with clean water at other times.
Clean between the teeth using floss or interdental brushes at least once a day. Flossing not only helps remove the plaque buildup but also prevents teeth decay.
Regular visits to the dentist
Visit your dentist at least twice a year for checkups and dental cleanings. Inform your dentist’s office of your medical condition, and keep updating them of your blood sugar levels and medication. Report any signs of gum disease at the earliest opportunity.