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Diabetes and Dental Health

Posted on November 7, 2013 in General oral health

Diabetic patient doing glucose level blood test

It's National Diabetes Month, a month dedicated to bringing awareness to the growing disease. Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and another 79 million Americans have prediabetes. Together, 105 million Americans have either been diagnosed, or are at risk of being diagnosed– that's a third of the country!

Why is diabetes such a concern?

    • Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
    • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.
    • The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
    • People with type 2 diabetes tend to have more problems with their teeth and gums if their blood glucose remains high.

Diabetes and Oral Health

The latest research suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes works in two directions. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but gum disease can affect blood glucose levels and make diabetes harder to control. Diabetics are also prone to a number of oral health complications such as dry mouth, thrush (an oral fungal infection) and oral legions.

What can you do to reduce your risk or manage your diabetes?

    • Be aware of your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol
    • Use meal planning to lose weight if needed and eat lower fat foods
    • Exercise – try to get to 30 minutes a day, even if is broken up into smaller portions.
    • Quit smoking
    • See your dentist regularly and get your teeth and gums cleaned
    • Brush 2-3 times a day and floss
    • Include an oral health assessment as party of your routine diabetes management

Remember, your dentist and hygienist are important members of your medical team. Talk with them about your diabetes and any other medical conditions you may have.

For more information please visit The American Diabetes Association website.