Early gum disease (gingivitis). Diabetes reduces your ability to fight bacteria. If you don't remove plaque with regular brushing and flossing, it will harden under your gumline into a substance called tartar (dental calculus). The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the part of your gums around the base of your teeth, called the gingiva. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily. This is known as gingivitis.
Advanced gum disease (periodontitis). Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis, which destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Eventually, periodontitis causes your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth, which in turn causes your teeth to loosen and possibly fall out. Periodontitis tends to be more severe among people who have diabetes because diabetes lowers the ability to resist infection and slows healing. An infection such as periodontitis may also cause your blood sugar level to rise, which in turn makes your diabetes more difficult to control. Preventing and treating periodontitis with regular dental cleanings with your Fort Lauderdale dentist can help improve blood sugar control.
To help prevent damage to your teeth and gums, take diabetes and dental care seriously:
Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brush in the morning, at night and, ideally, after meals and snacks. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth and under your gumline. If you have trouble getting dental floss through your teeth, use the waxed variety. If it's hard to manipulate the floss, use a floss holder.
Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment, and that includes proper dental care. Dr. Nancy Rotroff and Dr. Gerard Wasselle of Excellence in Dentistry at 2480 E. Commercial Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale are ready to partner with you to maintain your best oral health. Call our office at 954-928-1666 to schedule your appointment for dental exam and cleaning today!