Throughout November, help raise awareness about diabetes risk factors and encourage healthy living to promote American Diabetes Month.
Nearly one in 10 (more than 30 million) Americans live with diabetes. Diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage and kidney disease if not properly controlled. But did you know that diabetes can also lead to severe oral health problems?
Along with heart and kidney disease, people living with diabetes have an increased risk of contracting gum disease. People with diabetes are more susceptible to bacterial infection due to a decreased ability to fight bacteria invading the gums. With more unstable blood glucose levels and a higher risk of bacterial infection, people with diabetes are more likely to develop gingivitis and periodontitis (severe gum disease) than those without. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and may even make diabetes harder to control.
For anyone with a higher risk of developing gum disease and other oral health problems, it is extremely important to maintain your oral health. As always, you should take good care of your teeth and gums. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily and don’t forget to schedule regular six-month checkups with your dentist. If living with diabetes, make sure you notify your dentist and hygienist of any changes in your condition, and inform them of any medications you may be taking so they can provide you with the best treatment to fit your needs. Control of blood glucose levels is also very important in relation to oral health.