Diabetes and Oral Health in Wichita

Taking care of your smile goes beyond brushing and flossing—it involves understanding how your overall health can impact your oral well-being. One such condition that significantly affects oral health is diabetes.

At Reflection Ridge Dental, we're dedicated not just to your dental care in Wichita but to providing insights into how conditions like diabetes can impact your oral health, and tips to manage both effectively.

Understanding the Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes isn't just about managing blood sugar levels—it has far-reaching effects on various parts of the body, including your mouth. According to the American Diabetes Association, high blood sugar can lead to issues like gum disease, tooth decay, dry mouth, and oral infections.

Gum Disease and Diabetes

Research has shown that individuals with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. Elevated blood sugar levels can weaken your ability to fight bacteria, making your gums more susceptible to infections. This can result in swollen bleeding gums, which if left untreated, can lead to more severe periodontal problems such tooth and bone loss. Gum disease can cause more inflammation which can make diabetes even harder to control.

Tooth Decay and Dry Mouth

Additionally, diabetes can lead to decreased saliva production, causing dry mouth. Saliva helps wash away food particles and neutralizes acids, protecting teeth from decay. With less saliva present, the risk of tooth decay increases.

According to a study by Rutgers, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have issues with tooth decay separate from dry mouth. The study showed that diabetes can interfere with the “ongoing process of adding minerals to teeth as they wear away from normal usage.”

Oral Infections

The compromised immune system in diabetic individuals makes them more susceptible to oral infections, such as thrush (a fungal infection) and other bacterial infections in the mouth. Keeping your blood sugar under control combined with good oral hygiene can help combat these infections. Medications are also available if needed.

Tips for Managing Oral Health with Diabetes

Resources for those with Diabetes in Wichita

Managing diabetes can feel like a daunting, never-ending process, however, it’s essential to not just your oral health, but to your overall health and quality of life. For those with diabetes living in Wichita, there are some resources you can access.

Assistance with Insurance & Cost of Medication

Managing a chronic illness such as diabetes can be costly. The American Diabetes Association has a list of resources you can access for help with health insurance. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinology has a list of insulin assistance programs you may be eligible for.

Education Resources

It’s important to educate yourself about diabetes if you are diagnosed. The more you know about managing your blood sugar, the more likely you are to take the steps necessary to make a difference. Nutrition is extremely important in managing diabetes. The K-State Research and Extension office in Sedgwick County offer Dining with Diabetes classes regularly.

The American Diabetes Association also offers tools and resources for those living with diabetes and caring for people with the disease.

Your primary care physician may also have educational resources and recommendations for you to consider. Talk to them regularly about your diabetes diagnosis, management and staying healthy overall.

Your Trusted Partner in Dental Care in Wichita

At Reflection Ridge Dental, we understand the intricate connection between diabetes and oral health. Our dedicated team is committed to providing personalized care and guidance to help you maintain a healthy smile, especially while managing diabetes.

Your oral health is an integral part of your overall well-being, especially when dealing with conditions like diabetes. By staying proactive, maintaining a diligent oral care routine, and partnering with your healthcare professionals, you can effectively manage the impact of diabetes on your dental health.

Remember, when it comes to dental care in Wichita, we're here to support you every step of the way. Contact our office today to schedule your annual exams and take control of your oral health.

Common Causes of Bad Breath

Halitosis is the technical name for bad breath. Often, halitosis is a symptom of another oral health issue. Regular checkups from a dentist Wichita KS are essential to eliminating bad breath and protecting your overall oral health. 

Causes of Bad Breath 

Bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor oral care, bacteria on the tongue, gum disease, dry mouth, tobacco products, or an underlying health condition.  

Poor oral health means the patient isn’t regularly brushing or flossing their teeth, or getting regular dental cleanings and exams. When you don’t brush your teeth, the bacteria caused by food that is stuck between your teeth, and on your tongue, will increase as the food particles rot. The rotting food particles then create bad odors in your mouth. This can happen with people who use dentures as well. Improper cleaning of your dentures can cause bacteria and fungi to collect on the dentures and cause bad breath. 

Bacteria on the tongue can cause bad breath as well. Your tongue has a textured surface in which bacteria can get caught. Gently brushing or scraping your tongue every day as part of your oral hygiene routine can help reduce or eliminate odor caused by bacteria that is collected on your tongue. For the most effective clean, brush back and forth, side to side, and then rinse your mouth with water. 

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease is a major cause of bad breath. Those with gum disease may also experience a bad taste in their mouth in addition to the bad odor. This condition is serious and needs to be addressed by a dental professional as soon as possible.  

Dry mouth, also called Xerostomia, is caused when there is a reduction in saliva which leads to the mouth not being able to clean itself properly, leaving food particles left behind. Dry mouth can be caused by medications, a salivary gland disorder, or mouth breathing. There are treatments for dry mouth, so talk to your dentist or primary care provider if you are suffering from dry mouth and bad breath. 

 Tobacco products cause bad breath but also contribute to gum disease and oral cancer. If you smoke, stopping this habit will help reduce bad breath, as well as your risk factors for other more serious conditions.  

 Bad breath can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition including a respiratory infection, diabetes, gastrointestinal, liver, or kidney disorders. Talk to your primary care provider about other possible health conditions if the issues above are not applicable. 

When to Contact a Dentist Wichita KS 

Bad breath is more than embarrassing, it can indicate a much bigger issue. During your next regular cleaning, or sooner, if necessary, talk to your dentist about bad breath. Together you can walk through possible causes, and work on a treatment plan. You can contact Reflection Ridge Dental at 316-721-2024 to schedule an appointment for your regular exams, or if you have a concern. 

How Smiling Improves Your Physical and Mental Health 

American poet Anthony Liccione once said, “Teeth aren’t pearly, until you smile.” A smile is the best frame for your teeth, but it’s also beneficial to our physical and mental well-being and has social benefits as well. 

Benefits of Smiling 

Smiling enhances your mood because it triggers the release of endorphins. These neurotransmitters produce feelings of pleasure and happiness. This can help to improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. 

In addition, smiling helps relieve stress! When you smile, it can lower your heart rate and reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone that is associated with stress. This can help to promote relaxation and reduce the negative effects of stress on your body. 

The release of endorphins when you smile can also boost your immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, which can help to fight off infections and illnesses. 

The social benefits of a smile include improved communication and creating a more positive environment. A smile can help to break down communication barriers, making it easier for people to interact with one another. When you smile, it signals to others that you are open and willing to engage in conversation, which can lead to more meaningful interactions. Smiling can also help create a positive atmosphere by diffusing tense or awkward situations and create a more relaxed and comfortable environment. 

Further, people who smile are generally perceived as more attractive, friendly, and approachable than those who don't smile. This can help to improve your social interactions and increase your chances of forming positive relationships. 

Smiling can also improve your self-confidence and self-esteem. When you smile, you project positivity and confidence, which can help you to feel more confident in social situations and in your daily life. 

Overall, smiling is a simple and effective way to improve your physical and mental health, enhance your relationships, and increase your overall well-being. 

Improve Your Smile 

You can improve your smile at Reflection Ridge Dental through regular dental cleanings and cosmetic services such as teeth whitening, Invisalign braces, and even tooth replacement with dental implants. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a healthier, more confident smile. 


How Sugar Affects Your Teeth

October is a time of high sugar consumption as Americans hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, and as we head into the holidays candy and sugar consumption will increase. We’ve all heard how bad sugar is for our teeth, but do you know why? How sugar affects your teeth is important to know so you can improve your and your family’s oral health.

Sugar and Your Teeth

When you consume sugar, it reacts with the bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria feed on the sugar you eat or drink and form dental plaque. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the surface of your teeth. As plaque sits on your teeth it will start to form an acid. This acid can start to eat through your enamel and over time can cause cavities.

Studies show that frequent snacking on sugary foods does cause tooth decay. Even starchy foods such as potato or tortilla chips can contribute to cavities. Those foods can typically get stuck in between and into the grooves in your teeth. As the sugar in these foods breaks down into acid, it can damage teeth.

Drinking sugary beverages can be more damaging to your teeth than sugary foods. Beverages such as soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and juice contain high amounts of sugar but also are acidic on their own. The sugar and extra acidity can do even more damage to your teeth. If you do drink sugary beverages, don’t sip them slowly. This gives the sugar and acid more exposure to your teeth.

Sticky foods such as hard candies, breath mints, or sugary gum can also cause tooth decay. These treats stay in your mouth longer, giving them more of an opportunity to do damage.

How to Fight Sugar Tooth Decay

Rethink what you eat and drink. Stick to healthy, low-sugar foods and beverages. If you do drink a sugary, acidic drink, be sure to drink it with a meal and through a straw so your saliva can work on reducing the damage. Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks.

Practicing good oral hygiene is also a must. Brush after every meal—at least twice a day—with toothpaste that contains fluoride. Floss your teeth daily to remove plaque from in between your teeth. You can also chew sugar-free gum to increase saliva production. Finally, keep your annual appointments with the dentist for a cleaning.

Limiting sugary foods and beverages, practicing good daily oral hygiene, and having bi-annual cleanings at the dentist will help you fight tooth decay caused by sugar.

Oral Health Routines for a Happy, Healthy Smile

You’ve probably heard that a healthy mouth is associated with a healthy body. This is mostly true, as your teeth and mouth can show first signs of deficiencies and disease.

Oral health is linked to overall health

Your oral health is a window to your body’s overall health. For example, problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bodily infections, and other conditions can affect your oral health. Furthermore, these conditions can lead to periodontal disease, gum disease, gingivitis, and other oral infections.

5 ways to improve your oral routine and maintain a healthy mouth

  1. Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes.
  2. Floss daily.
  3. Incorporate mouthwash into your routine.
  4. Limit sugary food and beverages.
  5. Drink more water.

When to seek help from your dentist

If you notice any changes to your teeth or mouth, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. For instance, issues may include bleeding or swollen gums, new sensitivities to teeth, painful chewing, unusual taste or consistent bad breath. Most importantly, taking good care of your oral health is a long-term investment in your overall health.

At Reflection Ridge Dental, we offer preventative services like routine dental checkups, laser decay removal, comprehensive dental services, and more. In addition, our team of dentists and hygienists are committed to serving patients with top-notch care. We have a patient-first attitude and we are proud to provide dental care to your entire family.