Diabetes and Oral Health

More than 29 million Americans have diabetes and approximately 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.  What is even more eye opening is that around 8 million people are living with diabetes and they don’t know it.

Symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, extreme thirst, extreme hunger, fatigue, blurry vision, slow or non-healing cuts or bruises, weight loss despite eating more and tingling, pain or numbness in the hands and/or feet.  If you have noticed any of these symptoms, please see your doctor as soon as possible.

Untreated diabetes can affect your mouth in the following ways:

  • Less saliva, resulting in a very dry mouth
  • Because of less saliva, you’ll be at a higher risk for developing cavities
  • Inflamed and bleeding gums – around teeth and implants
    • Treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control which will, in turn, decrease the progression of the disease. 
  • Ability to taste food diminishes or changes
  • Delayed wound healing – this is extremely important for extractions and for the success of implants
  • Increased risk of infections inside your mouth – also very important for extractions and implants

How does a diabetic keep a healthy mouth?

  • Blood sugar control – using diabetic medications as directed, healthy diet and exercise
  • Avoid smoking
  • Routine cleanings or deep cleanings when necessary
  • Clean dentures daily
  • Brush teeth and implants twice daily
  • Floss teeth and implants daily
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups

 

Next time, we'll talk about oral health and heart disease!