Diabetes and oral health
November is American Diabetes Month. Understand the link between diabetes and dental health.
Studies show that diabetics – an estimated 12 to 14 million people in the United States – are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal disease.
Oral infections tend to be more severe in diabetic patients than non-diabetic patients. Diabetics may experience diminished salivary flow and a sensation of a burning mouth or tongue, which leads to a higher incidence of tooth decay. Furthermore, diabetics who do not control their blood sugar levels tend to have increased oral health problems, particularly gum recession (shrinkage).
Tips for dental health care
Diabetics who receive proper dental care and control their insulin stand a better chance of avoiding gum disease.
They should maintain good dental health care to prevent mouth infections. Mouth infections require immediate treatment; dentists may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses and more frequent cleanings to avoid complications related to bacterial infections. To keep teeth and gums strong, diabetic patients should be aware of their blood sugar levels and have their triglyceride and cholesterol levels checked regularly. These may have a direct correlation on chances of developing periodontal disease.
When is the best time to receive dental care?
If blood sugar is not under control, diabetic patients should talk with both their dentist and physician about receiving proper dental care. Dental procedures should be as short and as stress-free as possible. It’s a good idea to make morning appointments because blood glucose levels tend to be under better control at this time of day.
How does diabetes affect oral health? Academy of General Dentistry.