Diabetes is an epidemic that affects over 350 million people all over the world, and Costa Rica is no exception. One out of every ten adults over 20 years old is diabetic, and even more alarming, almost three out of ten are pre diabetics.
The diabetic population must live by rigorous series of cares for their mouth. They must be alert as they are easy targets for becoming gum disease victims, such as gingivitis and periodontitis; which is an inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones that serve as support for teeth. Periodontitis occurs when the treatment for inflammation or infection of the gums (gingivitis) is delayed or left untreated.
Diabetics are not only more susceptible to suffering from gum disease; it can also affect blood sugar levels and contribute to diabetes progression.
Due to the changes that occur in the blood vessels with diabetes, which makes them thicker, it can inhibit the efficiency of nutrients flow and the removal of tissue residuals. This obstruction in blood flow debilitates gums and bones, and it makes them more vulnerable to infection.
If diabetes is not properly controlled, high sugar levels in mouth fluids will encourage the bacteria growth that might result in gum disease, better known as cytosine, and other associated oral problems such as ulcers or open mouth sores.
Being more exposed to gum disease, diabetics are ideal candidates for tooth loss. There is a strong relationship between having diabetes and suffering from tooth loss. A poor diabetes control causes gum inflammation and facilitates osseous support, thus resulting in tooth loss.
It is imperative that diabetics visit the dentist periodically and to inform them of their disease; they must not wait until pain appears, but have preventive treatment instead.
Another important aspect of a diabetic´s oral care is scaring and healing process, which is considerably slower than people who don´t suffer the disease; when extracting teeth diabetics are more likely to have an infection, which is why treatment is recommended before and after any intervention.
If the person that suffers diabetes smokes, he has to know that this is another added and greater risk factor of developing gum disease.
Every diabetic person must have their blood sugar level controlled and must not neglect their teeth and gums, as well as attend the dentist at least four times a year. They must control aftas or micotic infection, avoid smoking, and if the patient uses prosthesis to remove and wash them daily. Keeping the blood sugar level controlled will also help the patient prevent and alleviate dry mouth.
Below there is a list of symptoms that diabetic patients must pay attention to in case there are any changes in the persons mouth, as it may signify a risk to their health:
Red or swollen gums.
Xerostomy (Dry mouth).
Gum recession that makes teeth look longer.
Loose or sensitive teeth.
Bad breath, (Ketonic, acetone breath).
Changes in the bite.
Bone destruction in teeth support.
Slow healing in gum tissue.