Gingivitis and Fever Can Be a Medical Emergency for Diabetics

Diabetics often lose their teeth. The reason for the all-too-common dental problems of diabetics is that they are sweet people. Their bloodstreams provide a constant supply of sugar to bacteria in the mouth that can cause major problems with gum infections and tooth decay, unless blood sugar levels are carefully controlled.

blood-sugar-levelBut the troublesome issue about dental hygiene for diabetics is that keeping blood sugar levels from soaring too high is almost impossible when they have gum infections, and keeping gum infections is check is almost impossible when they have high blood sugar levels.

When meds and insulin are not “working,” take a look at your gums. Anytime a diabetic’s medication or insulin just “isn’t working,” the first thing to do is to go to the bathroom and look in the mirror. Wash your hands and press against your gums. If they are “springy,” or if pressure causes gum pain, or if pressure causes your gums to look swollen or red, you need to see your dentist right way-preferably the very same day. And if you hold an ice cube in your mouth for 30 seconds and a tooth hurts, that’s another sign you have gum disease.

Of course, if you notice gum bleeding when you brush your teeth, you don’t need to go through all of these steps. Just schedule an emergency visit with your dentist to get this problem stopped.

The dentist may send you to the endodontist to get at the “root” of your gum problems. Sometimes the dentist can stop gingivitis with a simple cleaning. Sometimes it is necessary to visit a specialist called an endodontist for a procedure known as a root canal. Either way, be sure to ask your dentist for antibiotics to control the infection.

Never quit antibiotic treatment early. Always take all of the antibiotics prescribed for you. If you don’t, you risk killing all but the very strongest bacteria, and leaving these bacteria with no competition. They can come back and cause you an even worse infection than the antibiotic treated.

woman-eating-yoghurtAlso, two hours after you take an antibiotic, you should also take an pro-biotic, such as Lactobacillus or a good brand of probiotic yogurt, to keep the population of friendly bacteria in your body alive.

For diabetics, recovery from gingivitis is a long-term endeavor. It can take months or years for diabetics to get gum infections under control. It can take even longer for them to get their blood sugar levels back to normal, even if they are careful about diet, exercise, and medication. Once you’ve gone through pain and expense of a root canal, however, you want to keep gum infections away for good.

Prevention keeps you from needing to revisit cure. It helps to see your dentist every three months for an ultrasound cleaning. It is also essential to brush after every meal, and to floss daily. If you can’t get dental floss between your teeth, you can use an product called Dr.’s Toothpicks, or Stimudent, which is a specially designed toothpick with a triangular cross section.

But don’t let bleeding gums go untreated. Getting rid of gum infections makes managing diabetes easier, it can help prevent heart disease, and it can help women with diabetes who want to conceive have a much greater chance of carrying their babies to term.