Diabetes & Oral Health
Are they connected?
As of 2015, there are nearly 30 million Americans living with diabetes. That’s 9.4% of the total population. Those numbers continue to rise as 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. As dental professionals, we cannot stress enough the importance of good oral health for everyone, but especially for those affected by this condition.
Research has found that individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to oral health problems such as, gingivitis and periodontitis. Diabetics have a decreased ability to fight bacterial infections in the mouth, making oral care critical to avoid tooth loss and ensure good overall health.
It’s a two way street.
Emerging studies suggest that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is reciprocal. Not only are diabetics more susceptible to gum disease, but serious gum disease can affect blood glucose levels and contribute to the development of diabetes. This tells us that good oral health is an integral component of general health.
How can you protect yourself?
1. Control Blood Sugar Levels: A healthy diet, exercise, and managing medications will be your first defense. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels will help your body fight bacterial & fungal infections in your mouth. It will also help to prevent dry mouth caused by diabetes.
2. No Smoking!
3. Dentures: Be sure to clean them daily
4. Brush & Floss Daily
5. Regular dental checkups: Be sure to schedule cleanings for every six months.
Learn more about how diabetes can affect your oral health below: