American Diabetes Wholesale recently had the chance to speak with Janis Roszler MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N about the direct link between good oral healthcare and diabetes. Roszler offers several tips that can benefit a person with diabetes, many of them being simple changes in oral healthcare routines that can make dramatic changes in how your body fights bacteria.
- People don’t often link diabetes and oral healthcare to each other but studies suggest that proper oral care can ensure better overall health. How so?
- Proper oral care can help people with diabetes reduce their risk of developing a variety of different dental problems, including gum disease, fungal infections, ulcers, and cavities. Serious gum disease can make diabetes more challenging to control and may also contribute to its progression.
- Yes, definitely! People with diabetes have a reduced ability to fight the bacteria that causes gum disease. This puts them at a higher risk for oral problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis. When these develop, individuals with diabetes may have a harder time controlling their blood glucose level. Poor diabetes control puts individuals at risk for a number of complications, including heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
- Absolutely! A clean, healthy mouth can help people meet their diabetes goals. They will have an easier time maintaining good glucose control, which can help them feel energized as they go through their day. They won’t have oral pain that could interfere with their ability to stick to their meal plan, participate in regular physical activity, or enjoy a good night’s sleep. Eating right and staying active helps regulate blood glucose levels, improves circulation, reduces stress, and can help individuals lose weight, if needed. Poor oral health can cause a person to avoid social situations. Research shows that social support enhances a person’s ability to live more comfortably with diabetes, so having a healthy mouth can give people the confidence they need to interact with others.
- I would go for the quick, 30-second rinse, twice a day. Brushing only cleans 25% of your mouth. An effective germ-killing mouthwash, such as Listerine, can clean the remaining 75%.
- They should do what I call the “Big 4” – brush, floss, rinse and see their dentist regularly.
- They sure do! Like adults, children can develop oral problems that make their diabetes more challenging to control. It is extremely important to introduce good oral care practices to young children so they become part of their daily routine.
- The good news is that good oral care doesn’t add a considerable amount of time to anyone’s day. People with diabetes should brush their teeth twice a day, rinse with a quality mouthwash for 30 seconds after they brush, and floss once a day. My husband and I turned flossing into a fun bedtime ritual. Before bed, the first one who finishes brushing lays out floss for both of us. It isn’t as expensive as flowers and is awfully nice!
- According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes should have a dental checkup at least every six months. The exact number of times they should go should be determined by their dental professional.