Diabetes and Your Oral Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control from statistics released this past January, 26 million people have diabetes. This is an increase of 2 million since 2008. Additionally, 27% of those with the disease are unaware of they even have it. Diabetes has an effect on many of your bodily functions and dental professionals have a commitment to help diagnose conditions and maintain oral health.
Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, managing your blood sugar level is key. The higher your blood sugar level, the higher your risk of tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Diabetic patients have an increased chance of infection in the mouth, our goal is to reduce the amount of plaque (bacteria) in order to decrease occurrences of inflammation, bleeding and swelling. The most common conditions we see in diabetic patients is periodontal disease.
Periodontitis is a serious infection which destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Eventually, periodontitis causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and your teeth to loosen and even fall out. Periodontitis tends to be more severe among people who have diabetes because diabetes lowers the ability to resist infection and slows healing. An infection such as periodontitis may also cause your blood sugar level to rise, which makes your diabetes more difficult to control. Preventing and treating periodontitis can help improve blood sugar control.
The accumulation of plaque on the teeth causes an aggravated response in diabetic patients which can quickly lead to periodontitis. Taking frequent dental x-rays and recording measurements of gum tissue is very important in the maintenance of a diabetic patient. Patients with diabetes and who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease are urged to be seen every 3-4 months to reduce the amount of plaque build up.
To help prevent damage to your teeth and gums, we take diabetes and dental care seriously. Here are some tips you can use to control your diabetes and stay healthy:
Make sure you are seen regularly by your MD — Monitor your blood sugar level, follow your doctor's instructions and regulate your medications to keep your blood sugar level within your target range. The better you control your blood sugar level, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis and other dental problems.
Know your HbA1c percentag. — This number tells you how you maintain your diabetes over a longer period of time. If you doctor doesn't offer you this information then ask them.
EXERCISE! — Regular exercise can help prevent prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and it can help those who already have diabetes to maintain better blood sugar control. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk walking 4 or 5 times a week is recommended.
Eat healthy and change your lifestyle — Choosing healthy foods and maintaining a healthy weight can go a long way to keep you healthy. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight if you're overweight can make a significant difference in your blood sugar control. A healthy diet is one full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, with a limited amount of saturated fat.
See your dentist to maintain a healthy mouth — This can be caused by salivary gland problems, medications or by "mouth breathing."
Diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, sinus disease, reflux disease and others Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment, and that includes proper dental care. Your efforts will be rewarded with a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
My staff and I are passionate about diabetes and how it can affect your life. Please let us know at your next dental visit if you have any questions or call for a free consultation. You can also visit www.diabetes.org or the American Dental Association website www.ADA.org public resources and public health topics, on how you can live a healthy, happy life.
To discuss your diabetes issues or to ask any other questions, please contact us immediately at 513-923-1215 or fill out the appointment request form to schedule now.