In honor of November being American Diabetes Month, it is worthwhile to discuss how diabetes can affect the mouth. Nearly 26 million children and adults suffer from diabetes in the United States. Another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. That is certainly a lot of people that need to be aware of the oral heath risks associated with their diabetes condition. If you are a diabetic, you will certainly have to put in stronger dental hygiene efforts to ensure your mouth stays healthy. The most prevalent dental-related complication for diabetics is gum disease.
Did you know that there are more bacteria in your mouth right now than there are people of this Earth? If those germs hang out on your gums too long, you set yourself up for gum disease. Unfortunately, if you have diabetes, your poor blood glucose control makes you more susceptible to bacterial infection as well as decreases your ability to fight bacteria on your gums. Gum disease is by no means inevitable if you have diabetes, but your fight to prevent it will no doubt be one you will have to stay on top of. Brushing and especially flossing should be key components of your daily oral health routine. A professional dental cleaning and exam need to be on your calendar every six months. It is important that you keep your dentist and hygienist informed of any changes in your diabetes condition or any medication you might be taking. You may want to also postpone any non-emergency dental procedures if your blood sugar is not in good control.
Emerging research also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is a two-way street. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to also affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.
Group Health Dental is proud to offer high quality, comprehensive dental care to patients who suffer from all types of medical conditions, including diabetes. As you struggle to control your blood glucose levels as a diabetic, let a trusted dental professional help you maintain the healthy teeth and gums you deserve.