As a diabetic, you may be used to checking your own blood glucose levels and having your doctor monitor them too. However, you may be surprised at the interest your dentist also shows in these levels. Why does your dentist want to know how well you're controlling your diabetes?
How Diabetes Affects Your Oral Health
Diabetics may be at a higher risk of developing problems with their gums and teeth, such as gum disease, dry mouth, thrush and problems with decay. Typically, this is more likely to become an issue if you aren't controlling your blood glucose levels as well as you should, according to the Better Health Channel.
How Your Dentist Can Help
If you tell your dentist that you have diabetes, you may be asked about your blood glucose levels. This gives your dentist an indication of whether your condition is likely to cause problems with your oral health.
While your dentist, like your doctor, may tell you to try to better control your condition, you may also get some useful advice and tips on how to maintain good oral health to try to counteract any possible problems, especially if your blood glucose levels aren't quite right.
You may already be doing some of the things your dentist recommends; if not, it's good idea to make them part of a daily routine. For example, you should be brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing once a day. You should also make sure to have regular check-ups so that your dentist can assess how things are going and try to catch any problems early.
As well as general advice, your dentist may turn out to be an invaluable help if your diabetes causes side effects that affect your mouth. For example, dry mouth is a common issue with diabetics. If you have dry mouth, you can't produce enough saliva to keep your mouth hydrated and clean. This is a discomforting thing to have to live with, and it may also increase the risk that you'll develop decay and gum disease, according to Colgate.
Your dentist may be able to give you tips on how to improve the amount of saliva you produce, such as drinking more water and chewing sugar-free gum. You may also get advice on products that may help you put more saliva in the mouth, such as artificial saliva or toothpastes and rinses designed for dry mouth.
Tip: Maintaining good standards of oral health doesn't just help keep your teeth and gums healthy. According to Colgate, problems with your teeth or gums may make it harder to control your diabetes. If you keep your teeth and gums in a good condition, you may find it easier to maintain the correct blood glucose levels.