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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 29 million Americans are living with diabetes. Most people know that diabetes can cause problems with organs and increase the risks of infection and chronic illness, but it’s rarely discussed that diabetes can also cause dental issues. The following are a few ways that you can maintain dental health if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Avoid Foods with Added Sugars

Sugar is the enemy of both dental health and diabetes management. Sugar sticks to the teeth and begins a process that can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Sugary foods also raise blood sugar, which can inhibit the body’s ability to fight off infections and increase the risks of developing periodontal disease. Avoiding processed foods with added sugars can help you to combat these issues.

Be Aware of Dry Mouth

Diabetes can decrease the body’s saliva production and cause dry mouth. Since the teeth depend on saliva to wash away sugars and bacteria from the teeth, this dryness can allow plaque to build up. Dry mouth may also cause ulcers to form and make the mouth more prone to infections.

Limiting consumption of caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol may help to keep saliva production closer to optimal. A fluoride rinse may also be beneficial to add to the daily regimen if saliva production is still noticeably low or if the teeth have begun to show signs of decay.

Eat Healthy

Healthy, whole foods such as vegetables and fruits supply nutrients that the body needs. While it’s important to check blood sugar when consuming fruits and vegetables that are high in naturally occurring sugars, limiting consumption of processed carbohydrates and junk food will often make blood sugar easier to control. Since dental health can be affected by nutritional deficiencies, this can automatically assist with both diabetes management and dental health.

Brush and Floss

Brushing twice per day and flossing every day become even more critical after a diabetes diagnosis. Since the risks of developing periodontal disease and other dental issues increase when blood sugar is high, it’s important to keep the teeth clean and free from plaque so that these risks are not further increased.

Speak to a Dentist

When visiting a dentist in Orlando, diabetic patients should let the dentist know about diabetes and any other health problems that are present. Dentists may be able to provide recommendations and treatment based on specific issues relating to diabetes that can better assist with oral care. Speaking to a dentist about concerns and any changes may also result in better rounded care.