Dental Issues for the Diabetic

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Dental Issues for the Diabetic

By Jackie Marrinan, RDH

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and because we see many patients who have diabetes, we wanted to give you some facts on how diabetes can affect your dental health.  If you don’t have diabetes, please share this with a loved one who does!

It doesn’t matter if you have Type I or Type II, having diabetes puts you at risk for many other diseases and complications due to the impaired healing properties of diabetes.  For instance, you may already know that diabetics are at risk for losing a toe or for blindness, but did you know that you are at risk for losing teeth too?

Periodontal Disease/Gum Disease is likely to occur in a diabetic person.  It co-relates to diabetes which means that the diabetes directly affects the severity of Gum Disease and the Gum Disease directly affects the control of blood sugar levels.  If you have Gum Disease, you lose bone that surrounds the teeth which then leads to tooth loss.  Having frequent dental recare appointments can slow down or even avoid the gum disease process in your mouth.  Did you also know that maintaining a healthy mouth through professional therapy and good home care can reduce A1C levels 1-2% which could be the difference between having diabetes, being pre-diabetic, or having a healthy diagnosis!

With diabetes, the body’s ability to fight off infectious diseases and bacteria are jeopardized; therefore, other systemic diseases play a big role in your life.  Both Gum Disease and Diabetes are related to heart disease as well.  There are other mouth conditions that happen to diabetics too.  For instance, tooth decay becomes a huge issue with diabetics due to high glucose levels in the mouth and on teeth.  Dry mouth is a complication and also contributes to tooth decay as well as mouth lesions; all because of diabetes!  You are more likely to develop oral fungal infections making it difficult to taste your food or even swallow because it causes painful ulcerations and a burning mouth sensation.  There are medications for this of course, but prevention is the best way to treat these situations and your dental professional will be eager to discuss these complications with you.  Having frequent dental visits for preventative care is not only crucial in regulating blood sugar and saving your teeth but can also help save your life!

Just because you have diabetes it doesn’t mean you cannot have a healthy life!  Be aware of all the preventative measures you can take and it doesn’t take a long time to make changes….. just do it and you will make your life more enjoyable!  If you have trouble controlling your blood sugar levels and haven’t seen a dentist or dental hygienist for a while, don’t waste any more time….Call Lilly Family Dentistry for an appointment today!

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