Each November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes is a disease that inhibits the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin, resulting in elevated or abnormally low levels of glucose, or sugar, in the blood. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million American adults have diabetes, and about 1 out of 4 people don’t yet know they have it. This month aims at bringing attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. You might be thinking, why is my dentist posting about diabetes?
The answer is simple. Diabetes and oral health are a two-way street.
Diabetes and Oral Health
Research has shown that diabetes can affect your oral health, and that oral health can affect how your body is, or is not, processing sugars. People with diabetes are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop gum disease, like gingivitis and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting patients with diabetes. This is due to a couple of things.
First, poor blood sugar regulation increases your risk of gum problems. This is because your body is using its energy to stabilize your blood sugar levels rather than fighting off bacteria or fungal infection in your mouth. This can eat away at your gums thus causing periodontal disease. Another reason why periodontal disease is common in diabetic patients is because gum disease can cause blood sugar levels to rise, making diabetes more difficult to control.
Take Control of Your Health
Regular dental visits are more than just taking charge of your oral health. They are also about taking charge of your overall health. Treating gum disease can help diabetic patients better manage their blood sugar and slow the progression of their diabetes. Here are some things you can do to both prevent gum disease and progression of diabetes:
- Get regular tooth cleanings – going to the dentist can help monitor your gum health
- Avoid smoking
- Eat healthier – this helps you manage your blood sugar levels so your body can fight of bacteria in your mouth and help relieve dry mouth symptoms diabetes patients often have
- If you have dentures, be sure to clean them daily
- Brush and floss twice a day
If you have questions about the relationship between diabetes and oral health, visit Alpine Dental Health today!