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Don't let diabetes wipe that smile from your face

Published On: Jun 05 2012 03:20:26 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 03 2011 07:52:10 AM CDT
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(NewsUSA) - Diabetics know that they need routine health care, like check-ups and eye exams, but many might not know that diabetes can also put a bad taste in their mouth.

High glucose levels encourage destructive bacteria to overcrowd the mouth. The bacteria cause plaque build-up and gum disease, or gingivitis. Anyone can develop gum disease, but diabetics often struggle to fight off infections. Without a strong immune response, infections advance quickly. And gum disease, which starts off with red, sore and bleeding gums, leads to periodontitis, a serious infection of the gums and the bones of the mouth. Those who develop periodontitis often lose their teeth.

The relationship between gum disease and diabetes proves a two-way street -- studies suggest that advanced gum disease raises blood sugar, making diabetes harder to control. As gum disease worsens diabetes, and diabetes worsens gum disease, patients should strive to avoid the whole cycle altogether.

Some products can help. For example, EvoraPlus Probiotic Mints (www.MyEvoraPlus.com) can help keep bad bacteria at bay. The mints contain a mix of healthy bacteria, called ProBiora3, that adheres to the teeth and gums, leaving less room for bad bacteria to grow. In crowding out bad bacteria, the probiotic mints naturally support tooth and gum health. The mints also gently whiten teeth through the natural release of low-level hydrogen peroxide.

Diabetics can also avoid gum disease by controlling their blood sugar. The higher the patients' blood glucose level, the more likely they are to develop periodontitis and other oral infections.

Everyone should schedule dentist appointments every six months, but diabetics must work closely with their dentists to develop oral health care plans. Dentists can offer diabetes-specific tooth care advice.

If patients smoke, they should talk to their dentists or doctors about quitting -- smoking drastically increases the risk of tooth and gum disease.

Diabetics should be especially careful not to neglect routine brushing and flossing. Patients should floss at least once a day and brush their teeth with a soft-bristled brush after every meal and snack. Those wearing dentures should keep them clean.

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