November is Diabetes Awareness Month!

“Adults 20 or older with diabetes are 40% more likely to have untreated cavities than similar adults without diabetes.”
(Sourced from the CDC)

Did you know that having Diabetes not only affects blood sugar levels (systemic health) but also has significant risks to oral health?

Let’s explore the critical connection between Diabetes and common oral health conditions:

Gum (Periodontal) disease

  • infection of the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
  • contributes to bad breath, tooth loss, and chewing difficulties.
  • Exacerbated by the body’s reduced ability to fight infections creating a bi-directional relationship by also impairing the body’s ability to fight infection.

Dry mouth

  • Increases the risk of tooth decay, soreness, bad breath, and infections.
  • Can result from prescribed medications.

Fungal infections/thrush

  • May be sore and have white patches.
  • Elevated sugar levels in saliva may lead to overgrowth of Candida albicans.

The challenge lies in the bi-directional relationship. 

Diabetes hampers the body’s infection-fighting capabilities, making it harder to manage high blood sugar when an oral infection is present. To break this cycle, prioritize daily oral self-care to prevent disease progression and maintain overall health.

Top Advice:

Know what a healthy mouth looks like. Perform a self-check using a flashlight and examining all the books and crannies. Look for signs like bleeding, redness, and swelling, during oral care, indicating active gingivitis/periodontitis. If noted, contact your dental provider for evaluation and personalized guidance.

Your dental provider can help you with prescriptions for thrush, gum disease treatments, and suggestions for dry mouth including saliva stimulants. For those with Diabetes, a more frequent dental cleaning schedule (every 3 months) is often recommended.  

Preventing Oral Disease and Boosting Systemic Health

  • Brush twice daily.
  • Perform interdental cleaning (floss, water flosser, proxy brushes) once a day.
  • Use a tongue scraper.
  • Attend regular preventive maintenance visits.
  • Consider adding a mouthwash when needed to address bacterial load.
  • Ask your dental provider for specific products they suggest for addressing your needs.

Listen to your dental provider’s unique advice, ask questions, and utilize their expertise.

Additional resources of information:

If it’s been a while since your last dental visit or you’re experiencing symptoms, schedule an appointment to address your oral health. Check-in with your medical doctor to optimize your oral health!

Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns-I’m here to help! 

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