People with diabetes must follow these tips:
- Make a commitment to manage diabetes: Monitor blood sugar level, and follow doctor’s instructions regarding diet, exercise and medication to keep blood sugar level within the target range.
- Brush teeth at least twice a day: Brush in the morning, at night and, ideally, after meals and snacks. The best time is at least 30 minutes after eating to allow remineralization of any enamel that had been softened by acid in the food.
- Floss teeth at least once a day: Flossing helps remove plaque between teeth and under the gum line. Plaque can harden and grow under gums and cause problems.
- Schedule regular dental cleanings: Visit the dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings.
- Make sure the dentist knows person have diabetes: Every time a patient visits dentist, remind him or her that they have diabetes.
- Look for early signs of gum disease: Report any signs of gum disease — including redness, swelling and bleeding gums — to the dentist. Also mention any other signs and symptoms, such as dry mouth, loose teeth or mouth pain.
- If patient wear dentures, remove them and clean them daily. Do not sleep in them.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking increases the risk of serious diabetes complications, including gum disease. If a person smoke, ask the doctor about options to help quit.
Plan ahead: Patient may be taking a diabetes medicine that can make blood glucose too low or hypoglycemia. If so, talk to the doctor and dentist before the visit about the best way to take care of blood glucose during the dental work. The patient may need to bring some diabetes medicine and food with them to the dentist’s office. If the mouth is sore after the dental work, the patient might not be able to eat or chew for several hours or days.