What really does oral health mean,has Diabetes any relation?..What has your oral health got to do with your general health?
Dr Richard Selormey,a dental surgeon and founder for Oral Health Express GH shares on what you should know.
What is Oral Health?
- Oral health does not mean just our teeth and gums, but everything else in our mouth which helps us to eat, like our lips, muscles we use to chew food, upper & lower jaws, etc.
- With these tissues we can speak and smile; sigh and kiss; smell, taste, touch, chew, and swallow; cry out in pain; and convey a world of feelings and emotions through facial expressions.
- If we do not take care of our Oral Health imagine how we can interact with the world
How is Diabetes related to Oral Health?
- Diabetes is defined as an abnormally high blood sugar (glucose) due to abnormalities in a hormone in the body called insulin which is produced by our pancreas
- No specific oral lesions associated with diabetes.
- However, there are a number of problems caused by hyperglycemia (abnormally high level of blood sugar/glucose which is Diabetes).
- Higher level of glucose in saliva -makes the mouth more predisposed to tooth decay and gum (periodontal) disease.
- Uncontrolled diabetes impairs white blood cells, which are the body’s main defense against bacterial infections that can occur in the mouth
- When the blood sugar is high and there is impairment of the cells which fight infections, the body becomes more prone to some unlikely infections called opportunistic infections
- Diabetes can cause destruction of the nerves, so in the mouth they nerves which are responsible for taste and other senses can be impaired
Common Oral Health problems associated with Diabetes
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Salivary gland dysfunction
- Fungal infections (candida white patches in the mouth)
- Severe infections and delayed healing
- Taste impairment.
How does one prevent these Oral complications/disease associated with Diabetes
- Brush two times daily (morning and last thing before sleep) with a certified toothpaste and a soft/medium bristled toothbrush.
- Take your time and do brush your tongue.
- Use a certified mouthwash to help kill some of the bacteria especially in between the teeth where the brush cannot reach
- Avoid Alcohol based mouthwashes
- Floss at least once daily to remove food particles and plaque in between the teeth where the brush cannot reach
- Eat healthy, especially fruits and veggies; reduce the intake of refined sugars and sticky foods.
- Hydrate your mouth regularly to keep your mouth moist by liberal intake of water and rinsing.
- Regular dental check-ups: visit the dentist at least every 6 months. This will help to pick up problems early when they arise.
See photos captured at the event
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Ghana Health Nest/Kobby Blay