Diabetes: Dental Tips for Improving Oral Health While Fighting Diabetes

An estimated 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, and each year around 1.7 million new cases will be diagnosed. People with diabetes have trouble processing the sugar they eat, and that can cause a wide range of health effects, including problems with the mouth and teeth. In fact, for some people, oral health problems are the first visible signs of their diabetes. Here are some facts you should know about diabetes and your oral health.

Oral Health Symptoms of Diabetes

If diabetes is left untreated, often because a patient does not know he has it, it can cause a range of oral health problems. These include:

• Delayed wound healing in the mouth
• Infections in the mouth
• Lower saliva levels in the mouth
• Increased risk of cavities
• Increased risk of gingivitis
• Inability to taste food well

Many of these problems stem from poor blood sugar control. In addition, infections with the mouth, including serious gum disease, can cause blood sugar to rise, creating an endless cycle of poor oral health and poor blood sugar control. That is why proper dental health is even more important to someone with diabetes.

How to Protect Your Mouth While Fighting Diabetes

If you are struggling with diabetes, you will need to work hard to keep your teeth healthy. This starts with routine visits to your dentist. It also includes brushing and flossing routines at home. If you notice any sores or signs of infection, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Finally, do what you can to keep your blood sugars in line, so you can avoid problems from poor blood sugar control.

If you are looking for a dental practitioner who can help you maintain good oral health, while learning to control your diabetes contact Dr. James J. McCall at his Jacksonville, Florida practice. Call 904-620-9225 to schedule an appointment today.

Tooth-Friendly Diet

Can you diet affect your teeth? Absolutely! You probably already know that eating a lot of sugary foods is bad for your teeth, and warn your children about cavities every Halloween, but there is more to a tooth-friendly diet than simply ignoring sugar. Eating the right foods and drinking the right beverages can actually help you keep your natural teeth longer while avoiding staining and other damage.

A Calcium-Rich Diet

When your mom told you to drink your milk, she was not wrong. Adequate calcium intake keeps teeth strong and healthy. When you do not have enough calcium, the body may pull it from your teeth to compensate, and this can lead to an increased risk of cavities and tooth decay. Aim for two to four servings a day of diary or other calcium-rich foods.


Vitamin C also helps promote oral health. In fact, those who eat less than the recommended daily amount of vitamin C are 25 percent more likely to develop gingivitis than those who eat more than the recommended daily amount. Adding citrus fruit or kiwi to your daily diet will help. Just one serving per day will help.

Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables

Crunchy fruits and vegetables not only add important nutrients to your diet, but also help wipe away the bacteria that can lead to plaque. The chewing motions required to eat these foods also help you create more saliva in your mouth, which neutralizes bacteria in the mouth.

Avoiding Sugary Snacks

Of course, sugar is the enemy of healthy teeth. Enjoy sugary snacks in moderation. Hard candies and gummy candies, which can stick to the teeth, are particularly damaging. Acidic foods can also be a problem for teeth, as the acid breaks down tooth enamel. Soda, which contains both acid and sugar, is another dangerous food for your teeth.

Everything you put in your mouth comes in contact with your teeth, and your food also has the potential to give your teeth nutrients they need to be healthy. Make sure you protect your oral healthy by choosing foods that do not damage, but rather support, your oral health. If you have further questions about a tooth-friendly diet, talk to Dr. James J. McCall.

Stress and Your Dental Health

Does stress affect your oral health? Stress affects every part of the body, and a recent video from Dr. James J. McCall points out ways in which stress affects oral health. According to Dr. McCall, stress can cause a variety of oral health concerns, which is one reason among many that controlling stress is important.

Canker Sores

One problem that can be made worse with stress is the development of canker sores. Canker sores are small ulcer-like sores with a white or gray base, often bordered in red. They appear in pairs or even larger groups, and medical professionals do not know what causes them to develop. However, stress and fatigue make the chances of developing canker sores much higher. These sores are not contagious, but can be quite uncomfortable. Using topical anesthetics and avoiding spicy or acidic foods, which can increase irritation, may help manage the symptoms. The sores last about a week.

Cold Sores

Unlike canker sores, cold sores have a known cause- the herpes simplex virus, which is highly contagious. These fluid filled blisters appear around the lips, nose or chin. Stress and strong emotional upset can cause an outbreak. If you are suffering form cold sores, talk to your doctor about treatment to avoid spreading them.

Clenching or Grinding Teeth

If you are already in the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, stress can make the problem worse. Unfortunately, if left unchecked, this habit can wear down your teeth and cause problems with the jaw, including TMJ. A night guard or other oral appliance can help.

Poor Oral Hygiene

When you are under periods of intense stress, oral hygiene is easy to overlook. Unfortunately, skipping oral hygiene routines can make oral disease worse. Also, stressful periods of time can contribute to unhealthy eating, which can create further problems with the teeth and gums.

The reality is that stress does affect oral health. To ensure that the health of your teeth and gums is not compromised, find healthy ways to relieve stress, including healthy eating and routine exercise.

Smoking and Dental Health – What You Need to Know

Smoking is one of the more dangerous things you can do to your teeth and gums. Not only does smoking discolor the teeth, but it can also lead to serious oral problems. Here’s what you need to know about smoking and the way it affects your dental health.

Smoking Causes Serious Problems with Teeth and Gums

When you choose to smoke, it can lead to many problems in your mouth. First, it will discolor the teeth. Smokers often have dark, yellow and unsightly teeth. Nicotine stains are difficult to remove from the teeth. In addition, smoking can cause chronic problems with bad breath.

Yet these are primarily cosmetic issues. Smoking is also a health risk. Smoking and use of other tobacco products can lead to problems with gum and tooth health, destroying the attachment of bone to the soft tissues in your teeth. Research has also shown that smoking can cause gum tissue cells to stop functioning properly. This can impair blood flow to the gums and make the gums more susceptible to a wide range of infections. Mouth sores, gum disease and even tooth loss can occur as a result.

Smoking is also a cancer risk, and oral cancer risk increases with nicotine use. The constant exposure to a carcinogen in the mouth increases the risk significantly. While lung cancer is still a higher risk, oral cancer can be fatal as well, making it a risk that needs to be considered.

What Type of Smoking Is the Most Dangerous?

All types of smoking lead to oral health problem. The Journal of the American Dental Association performed a study over 23 years that found that cigar smokers had a high incidence of jaw bone loss and tooth loss. This risk seems to extend to pipe smokers as well. All types of smoking can lead to an increased risk of oral cancers.

So what’s the bottom line? Smoking is bad for your health, including your dental health. If you are a smoker, consider giving up the habit, and make good oral hygiene and regular dental visits a priority to reduce the effects of your habit on your mouth, gums and teeth. If you are concerned about the affects of your smoking habit on your oral health, contact Dr. James J. McCall at (904) 620-9225 today to schedule an appointment and consultation, or visit www.jamesjmccall.com.