Saturday, April 25, 2015

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

4 Signs You May Have A Problem:
Diabetes puts you at risk for dental problems.  It impairs the ability to fight bacteria in your mouth. Having high blood sugar encourages bacteria to grow & contributes to periodontal (gum) disease. You may have periodontal disease if you have:
  •  Gingiva (gums) that are red, sore, bleeding or swollen, or that pulls away from your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  •  An irregular bite or dentures that do not fit
                                                          Control Diabetes to Keep Your Smile Your Smile
    Well controlled diabetes contributes to a healthy mouth.  If you have poorly controlled or high blood sugar, your risk increases to dry mouth, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth loss and fungal infections like thrush. Since infections can also make blood sugar rise, your diabetes may become even harder to control. Keeping your mouth healthy can help you manage your blood sugar.
                                                       See Your Dentist Regularly

    People with diabetes are prone to oral infections.  You should get dental checkups at least twice a year.  Let your dentist know you have diabetes and what medicines you take.  Regular checkups and professional cleanings can help keep your mouth healthy.
                                                        Keep Plaque at Bay
    Sticky plaque-food, saliva, and bacteria-starts to form on your teeth after you eat, releasing acids that attack tooth enamel.  Untreated plaque turns to calculus (tartar), which builds under the gingiva (gums) & is hard to remove with flossing.  The longer it stays on your teeth, the more harmful it is. Bacteria in plaque causes inflammation and leads to periodontal (gum) disease.  Having high blood sugar often makes periodontal (gum) disease worse.
                                                 Take Care of your Dentures

    Loose-fitting or poorly maintained dentures can lead to gum irritation, sores, & infections. It's important to talk to your dentist about the changes in the fit of your dentures.  When you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk of fungal infections like thrush and mouth sores that are difficult to heal.  Poorly maintained dentures can also contribute to thrush.  It's important to remove & clean dentures daily to help reduce your risk of infection.  (it is also recommended that you do not sleep with your dentures in to allow your tissues to breath at night).
                                                         Toss The Tobacco
    Tobacco products-including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and pipes-are bad for anyone's oral cavity. If you have diabetes and smoke, you are increasing your risk of periodontal (gum) disease.  Tobacco can damage the gum tissue and may cause receding of your gingiva (gums).  It can also speed up bone and tissue loss, leading to lost teeth (Periodontal Disease)
                                                         Prepare for Oral Surgery
    Well controlled blood sugar reduces the risk of infections and speeds up healing. Tell your dentist and surgeon you have diabetes beforehand.
                                                         4 Steps to Protect Your Health
    The same steps that ensure a healthy mouth also help you manage diabetes
    • Eat a Healthy diet
    • Don't smoke
    • Keep up with your diabetes medications
    • See your dentist regularly to reduce the risk to developing a serious problem
                                                                Know the Warning Signs

    Regular dental checkups are important because your dentist can spot periodontal (gum) disease even when you do not have any pain or symptoms.  You should examine your teeth and gums yourself for early signs of trouble.  Infections can move fast. If you notice redness, swelling. bleeding. dry mouth, pain, or any other symptoms that concern you, call your dentist right away.

    Sunday, April 12, 2015

    April is Oral Cancer Month

    Oral Cancer: is the growth of abnormal cells in any part of the mouth or lips. Most oral cancers start in the lining of the lips or mouth where you have thin, flat cells squamous cells. This type of cancer is called oral cavity cancer or oropharyngeal cancer.

    Risk factors:
    • Smoking (or using smokeless tobacco)
    • Heavy alcohol use
    • Being male
    • Using Marijuana
    • Having human papillomavirus (HPV)
    • Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds-cancer of the lips, exposure over a long period of time
    • A sore on your lip or in your mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal
    • A lump or thickening on your lips, gingiva (gums), cheeks, or in your mouth,
    • A white or red patch on your gingiva (gums), tongue, tonsils, or the lining of your mouth.
    • A sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in your throat.
    • Unexplained difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue.
    • Numbness or pain in your tongue or other areas of your lips or mouth.
    • Swelling in your jaw that makes your teeth loose or your dentures fit poorly.
    • Changes in your voice.
    • Dry mouth (Xerostomia)
    * When your dentist performs an oral cancer screening, they are looking closely at your lips, mouth, tongue and throat to check for signs of oral cancer.
    ** Other tests may be needed if there are possible signs of cancer,  such as a biopsy, an X-ray, or an MRI.
    *** Oral cancer is usually treated with surgery & radiation therapy. Your treatment will depend on the stage of your cancer and your health factors. Chemotherapy may also be necessary.

    For more information, please visit the National Cancer Institute website :