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Diabetes is a chronic, systemic disease and affects all parts of the body. While its effect on the nerves, eyes, kidneys, and skin is more common, their oral effects are less known. However, diabetes will vouch how they lost tooth and have dry mouth after their sugars went out of control.
- Oral Symptoms in Diabetics: There is a strong correlation between oral health and poorly controlled blood sugars. Some of the common oral indications of diabetes are as follows.
- Dry Mouth: There is less amount of saliva, which brings with it a whole lot of symptoms including soreness of the mucosa, ulcers, increased chances of infection, gum inflammation and tooth decay.
- Thrush: The saliva has higher sugar levels and attracts fungus (Candida in particular) which thrives in this dry, sugary environment. This produces a burning sensation in the mouth.
- Periodontal Disease: The gums get severely infected with gingival recession, where the gum line recedes exposing more of the tooth (tooth length seems to have increased). There is “pocket” formation, or space between the tooth and the gum which hosts a variety of bacteria. The periodontal ligament loses its strength to hold the tooth in place, and thereby teeth become mobile. If not worked upon in time, there could be multiple teeth lost.
As much as it sounds alarming, it is not. There are easy, simple ways to manage these. In fact, good overall management of diabetes will ensure the oral symptoms are also maintained under control. Following are some things to do which will help in managing diabetes in general and the oral symptoms in particular:
As soon as diabetes is diagnosed, visit a dentist to take stock of the oral health condition. Any identified problem should be treated to avoid progression.
Keep a close watch to ensure blood sugar remains as close to normal as possible.
Switch to a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles. This will help reduce the pressure on the gums and thereby prevent gum bleeding
After every meal, remember to brush the teeth.
Flossing at least once a day will help remove food deposits between the teeth. Alternately, use interdental brushes.
Rinse at least twice daily using an antiseptic mouthwash.
Denture-wearers should always clean them daily and never go to sleep with the denture in the mouth.
Smoking with diabetics is a strict no-no, work on quitting at the earliest.
Visit a dentist every 3 months to ensure oral issues are identified at the earliest and treatment done with minimal intervention.
Any dental procedure should be done only when sugar levels are under control.
These will ensure not just oral health but also overall control of diabetes.
What could be the best recovery method? I just had an major road accident. I had stitches on forehead, near eyebrow and on cheek. And I have lost my 4 teeth. So can you suggest what should I do to recover fast?
Hi doc. Is it possible to recover from cavity naturally or any other way other than drilling and filling teeth.
I am 22, my tooth are not in all equal size and also have a gap between some of them. So I am thinking of having braces on teeth. So will it work?
Hello doctor. Yesterday I felt hard bump on roof of my mouth while I was just touching tongue on it. When I checked in mirror it looks like small colourless lump just like other area of the skin. It is painless and to tongue it feels like some hard bone bump. I am feeling little scared because I smoke occasionally.
While the mouth has the maximum amount of bacteria in the body, the highest concentration of bacteria in the mouth is on the tongue. It is therefore important to keep a clean tongue to avoid dental issues, starting from plaque formation to severe dental and oral infections.
Why clean the tongue: Before talking about how to go about keeping the tongue clean, let us look at why it should be done.
- Tongue cleaning is one of the main steps to maintaining a good oral hygiene.
- The bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease reside on the tongue, and cleaning it can remove the bacteria and therefore reduce tooth decay and gum disease.
- The bad odour produced by decay and gum disease can be avoided.
- Detoxifies the body - it is believed that toxin accumulation happens on the tongue, so daily cleaning helps detoxify the body.
- A cleaner tongue exposes the taste buds, thereby improving the perception of taste.
- Stimulate various other organs -The tongue has like pressure points that connect to various other body parts, and cleaning it helps stimulate these. The tip of the tongue activates the heart; the sides are connected to the spleen, liver, and gallbladder; so on and so forth.
- Cleaner looking tongue - Various food habits tend to give a color to the tongue. Caffeine, for instance, produces a yellow coating, which can be removed by regular brushing.
Choosing a tongue cleaner: Decide on the material and the type of the instrument. Either a plastic or metal or silicone cleaner will do the job equally well. In ancient times, gold or copper scrapers were used as it was believed to be good for health. Pick one of the three -tongue scrapers, tongue cleaners, or tongue brushes. All three are equally effective in cleaning the tongue of the bacteria. If required, motorized tongue cleaners are also available.
- Timing: Good to do it first thing in the morning. Overnight, there is a thick coating of bacteria on the tongue, and therefore cleaning the tongue in the morning is a good habit.
- Swish warm water: Begin with swishing your mouth with warm water, which loosens up the microbial film and thereby making it easier to remove.
- Scraping/Cleaning: Extend your tongue and start from the back of the tongue, as far back as possible without gagging. Toothpaste can be used on the scraper or cleaner if required. With slow, sweeping strokes, clean all the way to the front and then sideways.
- Duration: It is good practice to brush the tongue for about 90 seconds per day.
Tongue cleaning is a simple and effective way to maintain oral and general health. If you wish to discuss about any specific dental problem, you can consult a specialized dentist and ask a free question.