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Guidance for oral self-care in diabetes

With these guidelines, you'll keep your mouth and teeth in better condition.

The aim of brushing the teeth is to remove the layer of bacteria accumulating on the gumline, which may cause a gum infection and loss of the attachment tissues of the teeth. Removing the layer of bacteria is also necessary to prevent holes in the teeth as well as for the healing of cuts and sores.

According to research, electric toothbrushes achieve the best cleaning results, but a manual brush is also OK if it is more pleasant to use. The most important thing is to know how to use the brush properly.

Clean the gum lines thoroughly when brushing. Clean between the teeth daily with an interdental brush or dental floss

Using fluoride toothpaste is essential to prevent tooth decay. Usually, the decay in the teeth of young people occurs in the crown or gumline area, whereas the teeth of older people may also become carious at the root. The roots may have been exposed due to a disease in the attachment tissues.

If necessary, a dentist can prescribe a toothpaste with a higher fluoride content to stop and prevent dental caries.

Eating regular meals and avoiding snacking reduce acid attacks. On the other hand, drinking acidic drinks, such as fruit juice, acidic energy drinks or light soft drinks, results in increased acid attacks.

High blood sugar affects the mouth, resulting in more tooth decay and oral infections.

Occasional too low blood sugar is hard to avoid in insulin therapy, and it may need to be corrected several times a week with sugary food or drink.. Even then, you can stop the acid attack with xylitol products.

If you have problems with your oral mucosa, such as aphtha or lichen ruber planus, choose a toothpaste without foaming agents. The occurrence of lichen ruber planus is more common in people with diabetes. A dentist or dental hygienist will help you choose the appropriate care products.

You should not use disinfecting mouthwashes over a long period of time. They disrupt the natural bacteria protecting the mouth.

In addition to the general detrimental effect on health, specifically vascular health, smoking increases the risk and severity of infections in the attachment tissues of the teeth. It also slows down recovery, even if the layers of bacteria are removed.

Snuff causes damage to the mucous membranes, changes in the gums and staining in the teeth. The gums may retreat and become inflamed, and the surfaces of the roots may become exposed. What’s more, snuff may contain added sugar.

It is incredibly important to stop smoking or using snuff. Dental care professionals can support you with cutting down or stopping.

There are moisturising sprays, mouthwashes and gels available to treat a dry mouth that can be applied to sensitive dry mucous membranes. Cooking oil may also help. Water should be used as a drink in increased sense of thirst. Fruit juices or acidic drinks are harmful for the teeth, even if there is no added sugar in them.

Xylitol prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and stops acid attacks. After a meal or snack, it's a good idea to chew or suck on a xylitol gum or lozenge for a few minutes.

If you have diabetes, it's especially important to regularly undergo oral examinations and treatment. The interval between checks varies from three months to a year. Most people visit the dentist or dental hygienist every six months. Professionals help with the individual selection of suitable home care tools and teach their use.

Updated 31.10.2023