November 14th is National Diabetes Day. Patients know they need to monitor their blood sugar with diet and medication but what about dental care. Is there a connection?
Five Connections Between Diabetes and Dental Health
A reduction of saliva because of diabetes can lead to dry mouth. Dental patients with dry mouth are at a higher risk of decay.
Gum disease is a cause of tooth loss. Swollen, bleeding gums, and bone loss are symptoms of gum disease. Those with diabetes are susceptible to periodontitis partially due to elevated sugar levels and bacterial growth.
The immune system can be weakened by diabetes. Those with diabetes can be more susceptible to oral infections.
Slower Healing Time
Delayed healing time may mean dental patients take longer to recover from treatment. It may also increase the risk of infection.
Blood Sugar Complications
Uncontrolled diabetes may increase the glucose in saliva creating an ideal environment for bacterial biofilm or dental plaque formation. Bacterial plaque is associated with dental decay and gum disease.
What to do!
Regular Dental Check Ups
See your dentist every three months for cleanings and checkups. Brush and floss daily. Keep your dentist informed regarding your diabetes.
Keep an eye out for signs of dental disease such as red swollen gums, bleeding, or tooth
Stay in Charge
Visit your healthcare provider at regular intervals and keep your blood sugar at the levels recommended.
Stay hydrated to keep dry mouth under control.
Do not Smoke
Smoking can exacerbate disease and quitting will improve dental and overall health.