Diabetes Dental Care at Home: Tips for a Healthy Mouth
Continued high blood glucose levels leads to a greater incidence of
dental disease. Dental disease in turn can lead to
bone decay in the mouth, tooth loss, and even to coronary problems such as stroke and heart attack.
dental care at home
is particularly important.
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The Importance of Brushing
Regular brushing helps to clean the teeth of any plaque that has formed,
preventing it from hardening into tartar (which can only be removed at the
- Brush your teeth after every meal. Many people brush first thing in
the morning and then again before bed. However, brushing soon after every meal
or snack will help to remove plaque before it has a chance to harden.
Use a soft-bristled brush to avoid damaging your gums.
- Learn to brush properly. It may sound silly, since brushing our
teeth is something we've done since we were kids, but sometimes a quick
demonstration from your dentist can be helpful.
- Brush your tongue, too. The tongue traps bacteria and should
also be cleaned.
- Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to
protect the tooth and prevent it from decaying.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Toothbrushes get
out-of-shape and collect bacteria the more they're used. A new toothbrush
is more effective.
- An electric toothbrush
may be helpful for people who have arthritis or who find it difficult
to maneuver and use a regular toothbrush.
Flossing gets plaque out from between the teeth where the toothbrush can't
reach. This is just as important as brushing the surfaces of the teeth.
- Floss every day. Get a fresh piece of dental floss and methodically floss the
inside edges of each tooth (both sides), as well as the edges of the back teeth.
Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
- A dental floss holder
is a useful tool for people who have arthritis or who simply want an easier way to
- A dental mirror
can be used to inspect your mouth if your dentist or dental hygienist indicates that there's a section
that keeps getting missed while flossing or brushing.
A water flosser
is another tool that can be added to your arsenal. They are effective at flushing out debris in the mouth
that's been missed by regular flossing. Note, a water flosser isn't a substitute for regular flossing -
you still need to do both.
Professional Dental Cleanings
Regular trips to the dentist are helpful. Tartar must be removed to keep
both your gums and teeth healthy, and can only be removed with professional
cleanings at the dentist.
- Get regular cleanings at the dentist. Every six months is often
the "standard", but your dentist may recommend that you go more
often depending on the condition of your teeth and gums.
- Tell your dentist that you have diabetes. This is important for
your dentist to know, since wounds have a tendency to heal slower in
diabetics. Even a simple cleaning can result in minor tissue damage. It's
even more important when you need dental surgery or major procedure.
General Dental Care Tips
Other things you can do to keep your mouth as healthy as possible include:
- Keep your mouth moist. Drink water if your mouth feels dry.
Avoid alcohol-based mouthwash, which also dries out the mouth.
- Don't smoke.
Smoking increases the risk of dental disease.
- Keep your blood sugar under control. Good diabetes dental
care at home can help to prevent many problems, but blood glucose levels
must be well-managed to lower the risk of developing dental problems.
Monitor your blood sugar
levels regularly to be sure. Diabetics whose blood sugar is under control
are not at any greater risk than the general population for dental disease. A complete
plan will help you to manage blood sugar levels.
The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience,
and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual
situation should be directed to your doctor.