If you have diabetes and have struggled with gum disease for a good portion of your life, then you may lose your teeth due to tissue recession and constant gum infections. Dentures may be a good option for you if your teeth need to be pulled. However, this does not mean that you can stop paying attention to your oral health. In fact, you may need to do more to curb oral health issues than you did before you received your dentures. Keep reading to find out what you need to do.
Watch For Damaged Gums
When you receive dentures, the false teeth will be formed out of a resin material that sits directly over your gum tissues. Over time, the jawbone will start to lose some of its bulk and the gums will also start to shrink around the bone. When this happens, your gums may start to become inflamed and sore as your dentures become loose and wear against the tissues. This shrinkage is a natural process that will occur, and this is one reason why the denture base will need to be fitted several times during the first year or two of wear.
However, if you have diabetes, then this natural shrinkage and soreness may lead to an infection. Diabetes will cause your blood vessels to become more narrow and this can lead to the reduction in the amount of oxygen and other nutrients that the gum tissues can receive. The tissues will then take longer to heal. This means that the weak and damaged tissues will be exposed to bacteria in the mouth for a longer period of time. Your infection risks will be even more prominent if you do not control your blood sugar. If your blood sugar stays elevated, then the bacteria in your mouth will be attracted to the sugar. They will eat the sugars and multiply. Not only will this increase the number of bacteria that can infect your gums, but the bacteria will release acidic chemical agents that will further damage the gum tissues.
Manage Your Blood Sugar
The best way to reduce infection risks when your gums start to shrink is to control your blood sugar properly. Make sure to check your blood sugar both before and after you eat. Blood sugar should be between 80 and 130 mg/dl before you eat and below 180 mg/dl two hours after you eat. If your blood sugar seems elevated when you test it, this may be due to the fact that your diet has changed significantly since you need to eat soft foods. There are many soft food items that you can eat that are low in sugar. Think about filling your diet with things like eggs, fish, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, cottage cheese, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread. Also, sugar-free yogurt and ice cream can be eaten as treats.
Look Out For Oral Thrush
It is wise to speak with your dentist about sores, inflammation, and bleeding across the gums so that antibiotics can be provided to treat infections as soon as they start. In some cases, your dental professional may ask you to take a low dose antibiotic for an extended period of time. This will reduce infection risks until the gum tissues stop shrinking and better fitting dentures can be provided. However, this type of treatment will also reduce the bacteria that live in your mouth. This can cause an overgrowth of the yeast cells that also naturally live in the oral cavity. An overgrowth of candida yeast, specifically, will cause a condition called "thrush".
Check your tongue every day to look for signs of a thick white or greenish film. Also, look for white patches on the gums underneath your dentures and the formation of sores. If you see these things, then speak with your dentist so that an anti-fungal medication can be provided to you. Also, think about taking a probiotic that contains saccharomyces boulardii yeast. This type of yeast will help to keep the candida yeast from overgrowing, and it will also help to reduce digestion and intestinal concerns that can arise when antibiotics are taken.
Talk to your dentist for more information on how to manage your oral health if you have diabetes and dentures.