Diabetes and Dental Care Habits

I’ve recently seen some folks stating that they brush their teeth every time they have anything sugary, because of Diabetes. I have to admit that, aside from regular teeth brushings, I do NOT brush my teeth every time I have something sweet. I occasionally floss, but not every night… and I will not use mouthwash as I have had bad morning glucose numbers from the sugar alcohols and sucralose they use to flavor those things, and I just haven’t bothered yet to look for some that might be sweetened with sodium saccharin instead.

Aside from visiting a dentist regularly (which I don't because I have no insurance, right now -- no job), what kinds of teeth care habits should I practice at home, to help better care for my teeth, and why? Should I really be brushing after I eat something sugary, and aside from the risk of cavities, why? (I must mention that though I am 33 years old, I have NEVER had any cavities or neededed any dental work other than removing wisdom teeth, in my life.) What are your habits, and thoughts on diabetic dental care?

My thoughts are brush brush brush and floss because recently I have had so much pain in my molar even gone into hospital with dka because of an infection in the same place,got gum disease because of diabetes and was ment to get my molar taken out today but the dentist was ill so I have to wait for two week until my next appointment.
No one informed me to brush my teeth after eating sweets when I am hypo even after 23 years of diabetes found out when I had all these things going on.
So now I use mouthwash brought a waterpik of ebay after Marie told me about it and make sure I do something everytime I have something sweet to eat even though it can be hard.
So please please look after you mouth because I would not wish the kind of pain that I felt on anything thats breathing.

Well, diabetes does place you at more risk of gum problems. Gum infections are fed by elevated blood sugars and in turn the ongoing infection causes inflammation and in itself causes elevated blood sugars. A vicious cycle. Maybe you will be lucky. I am not. I brush and floss three times a day at a minimum and like Osob, I’ve used an oral irrigator for years. I mix mouthwash and water in the irrigator and use it to clean out all the pockets in my gums. And remember, it is not just sweets, the enzymes in your mouth will actually convert simple carbs into glucose. For a vivid example of this watch how Dr. B demonstrates this as he totally smacks down Hope Warshaw of the ADA in this video at 1:45 (http://www.tudiabetes.org/video/the-great-carb-debate-dr)

My son has braces…not too good at keeping his teeth clean. They had to give him a perscription mouth rinse for his gums. Wonder if was cuz of the time before he was diagnosed? He was diagnosed in Nov. It was the next dentist visit that they gave him the rinse. He also got new glasses during the time he was ill before diagnosis. Guess what…after going on insulin…they are not the right perscription now! It is amazing all the things that diabetes can effect. He was also considered ADD…poor focus…could that have been from this? Well…it never effected his height though…he is 6 ft now…wonder if he would have been even taller?? LOL…

I have just started flossing again because I have had problems with bone loss and am at risk for periodontal disease. So I definitely recommend flossing! It also helps with plaque and other things which are important to prevent especially if you can’t get to a dentist. I’ve never had cavities either, but that doesn’t mean other things can’t happen to your mouth besides your teeth.

On the other hand, I don’t think you need to brush your teeth after every meal or every time you have something sugary. Definitely I think you should brush twice a day (which is standard recommendation) and floss at night.

But I don’t have crazy elevated blood sugars. My A1C is below 6%… Do I really need to brush more than the twice a day standard?

I lost a molar two years ago and then got an implant ($$$) which has worked out great for me. The periodontist recommended the Waterpik, and I love using it in addition to my nightly flossing and 2x day brushing.

Have you seen this video of Caleb? It will make you smile.

Yeah, I have… it’s one of the reasons why I am asking if I really need to be so extreme as to brush after every single meal. Can a Waterpik be used in place of floss? My teeth are pretty tight together, and I struggle getting floss in there, a lot… which is why I don’t do it as often.

I think someone makes extra fine floss. I’m not sure if you can use the Waterpik instead of flossing 100% of the time.

Thanks… I’ll look into it.

An oral irrigator like waterpik is not a substitute for floss. The floss will scrape off the buildup, the oral irrigator is more effective at clearing trapped debris. I have tight teeth as well and use a Reach Access flosser. Using a handle allows me to work the floss much better between all the spaces.

And remember, if your HbA1c is 6%, that means your blood sugar is on average 126 mg/dl. Being elevated, it will tend to feed any infection. I can’t give you any particular advice on whether once a day is right or not, you should work closely with your dentist. I would tell you that my dentist and periodontist are acutely aware of my diabetes and my perio in particular is very clear about the connection between diabetes and periodontal disease. My continued perio problems are one of the reasons I want to more tightly control my blood sugar.

Well, it’s 5.3% (acording to my Bayer A1CNow)… I just state below 6% because somewhere around there will be my lab A1C, when I get it. My meter’s monthly average is about 113. I will try to look for the better flossing alternatives… and see if they have a mouthwash with sodium saccharin, instead. I just don’t think I can realistically devote time to brushing for every time I eat, or snack. That’d be like 8 times a day!

After 36 years of D I have very healthy teeth and only when I go low and treat in the middle of the night do I make sure I do some brushing or at least rinse. Otherwise, during the day I don’t brush everytime I go low. But I think everyone is different and if you are having some problems then I would definately start but it sounds like everything is fine so far. You could ask your Dentist and Doctor, they should have recomendations based on the health of your teeth. I also try and floss at bedtime but don’t always and recently baught an electric toothbrush. Don’t know what the benefits of the waterpik over flossing would be, I would think flossing would be the better choice and cheaper but whatever works for you!

I would recommend it only because it’s easier to prevent things than to fix them. Don’t go crazy on it, but as soon as you start to feel the film on your teeth after something sugary, brush. I start to feel the sugary film after just an hour or so after I eat something. I hate the feeling anyway, so I brush. Also, I floss about twice a day. Just don’t want to run into the teeth issues that I’ve seen and heard about. Would rather be safe than sorry. You know?

I wonder if you can just brush without using paste inbetween regular brushings? Just to get the gunk off your teeth? it would take just a minute to do it.

Yeah, I hear ya… your ideas, and others’ are helping me sort of come to grip with some of my annoyances regarding dental care. lol I didn’t exactly have parents teaching me good oral hygiene growing up, so as you can imagine I spent a lot of my childhood years not brushing… I’m amazed I have no dental issues. I’m going to try the extra fine flossing, on the cheap, or go with bsc’s idea (which I’ve used before, it’s just pricey), as soon as I can… and maybe do the brushing with no paste, in between meals, that you suggested… :slight_smile: Lots of good ideas.

haha. Hey, we’re not all Heatlh Saints. We all have our little nuances to overcome.

So I went to the store, and I looked around the dental area. I found that Crest Pro-Health Nighttime doesn’t have any sugar alcohols, or sucralose, and uses sodium saccharin… So I got that mouthwash, and I got the reach dental flosser as well. I need the help of the handle, cus I don’t have a very big mouth and I cant get my hand in there with regular floss, for the back teeth. lol I can’t afford the Waterpik, right now… but some day, if God in his good graces convinces SOMEONE to give me a job I will buy one. heh :slight_smile: Thanks for all the advice.

I am glad to see this topic here on Tudiabetes. I have found myself with a horrible case of "Meth Mouth" as my dentist described my mouths' condition. After changing dentists 3 times due to them accusing me of being a Meth Addict (which I understand their concern I am 6'1 and 190 lbs. But I am a pretty thin build). After doing some research with my new dentist, we came to the conclusion that I have what he is going to Dub "HyperGlycemic Mouth". Due to not taking care of my Livabetes as a youngster and having years of A1c's come back in the high 12's I basically made a very hospitable living condition for cavities and decay. Even though I was still brushing 3-4 times a day, it was not enough to combat the excessive sugar and dryness in my mouth. Now at the age of 32 I am looking into the near future of having full dentures. I have fillings and crowns that are falling out of my teeth due to what I thought was poor workmanship by the dentist. Now I understand that it was in fact my lack of control of this disease. No one had ever mentioned tooth loss as a severe complication from poor control. Now as I speak to the younger generation about the risks of not taking full control of Livabetes I take out my "flippers" and show them what not taking care of myself did to my teeth.