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Diabetes is a metabolic disease that results in high blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you are susceptible to a number of related conditions, including an increased risk of oral health problems. Understanding this increased risk can help you stave off oral disease and keep your teeth healthy.

Common Conditions among Patients with Diabetes

Gum Disease

One of the most common oral complications found in patients with diabetes is gum disease. There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissue. As the disease progresses it can cause the gums to bleed, appear red and puffy and become painful or tender. The gums pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where plaque and bacteria accumulate. If your gums bleed when you gently brush them with a soft toothbrush, you may have gingivitis.

When gingivitis is left untreated, it develops into periodontitis. At this stage, the infection causes damage to the jawbone and ligaments that support the teeth, making them loose. The gum tissue further recedes, leading to exposed nerve endings that can make the teeth very sensitive. If you have loose teeth that are extremely sensitive, you may be suffering from periodontitis.

There are several reasons why a person with diabetes has an increased risk of gum disease. If you are diabetic, your saliva may contain increased amounts of sugar. This extra sugar makes it easier for bacteria to thrive inside your mouth. When your diabetes is poorly controlled, you are even more susceptible to these bacteria, because you heal more slowly. People with diabetes are also prone to dry mouth. Dry mouth can irritate the gums. The lack of saliva to wash away bacteria allows them to set into the irritated gum tissue, promoting further gum disease.

Thrush

Thrush is a fungal infection common in people with diabetes. It presents as white sores on the mouth and tongue. Underneath the white patches, you see red tissue that bleeds easily. People with diabetes are more susceptible to thrust because they frequently take antibiotics. Your mouth maintains a natural balance of bacteria and fungus. If antibiotics kill too many bacteria, the fungus is able multiply more easily, leading to fungal infection. High blood sugar also contributes to the spread of thrush, because the fungi feed off of the extra sugar.

Tooth Decay

The presence of high levels of sugar in the saliva can also promote tooth decay. The bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acid. The increased acidity damages the enamel that protects your teeth from decay. The presence of gum disease exacerbates this problem, as pockets between the gums and teeth house more plaque and bacteria. Tooth decay that is left untreated causes significant pain and can even lead to oral abscesses.

 

Preventing Oral Health Issues

Control Your Diabetes

All of these conditions are most common in individuals with uncontrolled diabetes. If sugar levels are kept in check, you are less likely to have oral health problems. Follow all of your doctor’s orders. Take medications as prescribed. Avoid sugary foods and simple carbohydrates that can raise your blood sugar levels. Drink plenty of water to combat dry mouth.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Everyone needs to practice good oral hygiene, but if you have diabetes, the increased risk for oral disease makes it especially important.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Brush your teeth after any meals.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Avoid acidic foods and beverages, like coffee.
  • If you do smoke or drink coffee, brush your teeth immediately afterwards.
  • Floss every day.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings.
  • Use a mouthwash recommended by your dentist.
  • If you wear dentures, take them out and clean them every day.
  • If you notice any problems, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.

Just because you are diabetic doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to suffering from oral health issues and losing your teeth. Take precautions to prevent illness; and, know the signs of illness so that you can get help before it is too late.

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dental cosmetic workAmalgam Fillings

When your dentist finds tooth decay, to prevent pain and further decay, you need to have the decay removed. Removing the decay leaves a void in your tooth that must be filled. There are several filling options available; one of the more common but also more controversial options is an amalgam filling.

An amalgam filling is an alloy made from mercury and other metals, such as copper, silver and tin. Your dentist prepares an amalgam filling by mixing liquid mercury with a powder containing the other metal components. Millions of dental patients in the United Kingdom receive amalgam fillings every year.

There are several advantages to amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings are relatively inexpensive when compared to other filling options. The dental work can be completed in just one visit. The fillings are very strong, which is especially important for back teeth that must withstand extreme bite forces. These advantages are why amalgam fillings are among the most popular options.

Amalgam fillings also have several disadvantages. Following placement, amalgam fillings can cause extreme hot and cold sensitivity. This should subside in a few weeks; if it doesn’t, you need to return to your dentist. In rare cases, some patients may develop an allergy to the mercury or one of the other metals in the amalgam compound. If you notice an itchy skin rash following placement, you may need to have the filling replaced with a different material. Pregnant women should not get amalgam fillings, as mercury passes through the placenta barrier and can harm the fetus. The most common complaint about amalgam fillings is the unattractive appearance. The silver color may make you feel less confident about your smile and may show in the back teeth when you laugh.

The controversy surrounding amalgams has to do with the mercury content. When chewing, the amalgam releases small amounts of mercury vapor that you then inhale. Health agencies say that the mercury content is too low to harm you. People opposed to amalgams, however, believe that the potential side effects have not been studied thoroughly enough. Amalgams have been in use for over a hundred years; and, most studies suggest that the only real danger is to your dentist, who handles the liquid mercury on a regular basis.

If you are concerned about the possible disadvantages associated with amalgam fillings, talk to your dentist about it. Given all of the information about risks, costs and aesthetics you can make the best decision for your long-term health and comfort.

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chewing sugar-gum can help reduce the chances of decay starting

For those chewing-gum lovers out there, here’s an interesting piece of good news. Chewing sugar-free gum can actually play an important role in improving your oral health. Surprisingly, sugar-free gum can contribute toward reduction in plaque formation in addition to having a positive impact on a person’s oral hygiene as well as dental care.  Did you know that chewing sugar-free gum can play an important role in remineralizing the tooth surface while preventing dental caries?

Typically, saliva is secreted at a constant rate at around 500ml per day. However, this saliva can be stimulated. If you chew a sugar free gum, the salivary flow rate can be increased by a factor of ten. Apart from clearing your mouth from plaque-forming carbohydrates, this saliva has increased amounts of remineralizing ions as well as bicarbonate for buffering the harmful acids developed from plaque. Using sugar free gum after eating foods can be very helpful in promoting enamel lesions’ remineralization along with reducing the development of caries by around forty percent. Furthermore, this stimulated saliva actually has an increased remineralizing effect on the demineralised enamel.

 

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Bulimia is a health problem that can make you have an uncontrollable binge on food. People who suffer from this eating disorder usually go through a phase of regretting on the foods they’ve overeaten which involves ways like vomiting or overusing laxatives to keep from putting on additional weight. The sufferers may even start over-exercising to get rid of the extra pounds while eating more and more at the same time.
Statistics shows that the percentage of women suffering from bulimia is more than that for men. Parents are mostly concerned about teens that normally develop this condition as a result of emotional stresses or other triggers.
Not only is the condition highly dangerous for your well-being, it is equally devastating for your oral health. So, is it really possible for the dentist to detect if you’ve bulimia? The answer is yes.
Signs a dentist typically looks for…

• Inflammation in the jawline or cheeks
• Front teeth having a clear appearance at their edges or teeth appearing worn from stomach acid
• Dryness or soreness in the tongue
• Bruised mouth’s roof
• Sore throat
• Unusual or impacted tooth enamel

 

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Inflammation of the dental pulp can lead to pain in the teeth. Dental pulp is characterized by a soft tissue structure composed of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues. The tooth pulp has no function in a completely developed tooth, but it might be the cause of toothache.

Pulpitis can be classified into two forms, namely; reversible and irreversible pulpitis.

A mild inflammation can cause reversible pulpitis, which might resolve before causing infection. Irreversible pulpitis is severe and can cause tooth abscess and pulp necrosis.

Germs in the tooth decay causes tooth pulp inflammation. People experiencing cavities are likely to develop reversible pulpitis, due to which the teeth become sensitive to hot, sweet and cold. Pulpitis occurs when the root surface gets exposed as a result of gum recession.

Reversible pulpitis causes the teeth to become sensitive and, if left untreated, this extended sensitivity can lead to irreversible pulpitis. People experiencing irreversible pulpitis suffer from pain on biting.

Make sure to consult a highly skilled dental professional if you experience sensitive teeth. Normally, canal therapy is recommended by dentists to treat irreversible pulpitis.

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When you’re preparing your child for his/her first dental visit, there are things that you need to keep in mind.  A good idea would be introducing the child to the dental clinic’s staff and the dentist first and letting him know how friendly these people are. But if your child is having trouble with developing a comfortable feeling at the dentist’s office, talk to your dentist about rescheduling a couple of short visits so that the child develops a sense of trust.

One of the biggest mistakes that most parents make is that they attempt to explain the process to the child, which tends to worsen the situation.  You shouldn’t be using phrases like “Be brave!” or “It won’t be that painful.”  Remember, it’s a dental visit, not some battle field that your child has to fight in.  Make sure that your child gets an idea that dental visits are normal and a fun experience.

Dental appointments typically last for half an hour, depending on the nature of the examination.  The main goal behind the dental checkup is to observe any underlying oral health problems and develop a treatment strategy before it’s too late to fix those dental issues.

 

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