What You Need to Know About Diabetes and Oral Health
The CDC estimates that 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, while an additional 88 million have elevated blood sugar levels that cannot yet be classified as diabetes. There are two forms of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. In short, a person with type 1 diabetes is insulin deficient, while those with type 2 diabetes stop responding to insulin.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes cause high blood sugar levels and if poorly managed or untreated, can result in eye, nerve, kidney and heart problems. If that’s not scary enough, diabetics also have a greater risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease is primarily the result of infection and inflammation of the tissue that hold your teeth. Left untreated, it can cause jawbone deterioration resulting in pain, bad breath, tooth loss, dry mouth, fungal growth and more.
The good news is that with a bit of help from your dentist at Fioritto Dental, diabetic patients can avoid periodontal disease!
Why diabetics are more prone to gum disease
Everyone has bacteria in the mouth, which is why brushing, flossing and seeing the dentist regularly is so important. Bacteria is responsible for cavity formation and periodontal disease. Unfortunately, gum disease affects 22 percent of the diabetic population, because poor blood sugar control increases the overall risk for gum problems.
Additionally, gum disease can elevate blood sugar levels, making diabetes harder to get under control. It’s a vicious cycle, and the best defense is a regular dental visit.
How your dentist can help you fight diabetes
Deep dental cleanings don’t just keep teeth pearly white—they are also vital for gum health. During your dental visit, one of our dental hygienists will remove built up tarter from your teeth to reduce the number of bacteria and minimize the risk of developing periodontal disease. Evidence suggests that deep dental cleanings also help to lower a patient’s blood sugar, thus helping to keep sugar levels under control.
Your diabetes dental health action plan
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or have elevated blood sugar levels, we recommend visiting your Fioritto Family dentist once every three months.
In addition to scheduling appointments, we recommend the following tips to help control your diabetes while lowering your risk of periodontal disease:
- Control blood sugar levels: You can get your blood sugar under control by taking your diabetes medication, changing a high carbohydrate diet to one with more vegetables and protein, and exercise regularly. Good blood sugar control will help your body fight gum disease and associated fungal infections.
- Brush daily: We all need to brush at least twice a day to remove the bacteria from our mouths. Flossing is also vitally important to remove food trapped between teeth which results in even more bacterial growth. If you suffer with periodontal disease, talk to your dentist about specialized mouth rinses designed to help fight it.
- Stop smoking: Tobacco leads to gum disease, stained teeth and even oral cancer. Furthermore, nicotine in tobacco can raise blood sugar levels. If you smoke, stop!
Schedule your dental appointment today
Whether or not you have diabetes, it is very important see your dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and check-up. Schedule an appointment with Fioritto Family Dental today! We look forward to seeing you!