November Is National Diabetes Month: What Does That Mean for Oral Health?

​November is National Diabetes Month – did you know that around 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes? That’s almost 10 percent of the population. And every year 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed. Experts estimate that as many as 8 million people are living with diabetes and are completely unaware. Diabetes affects blood sugar levels and can cause health problems associated with the heart, nerves, kidneys, eyes and more. It can even be deadly if not treated and kept under control with medical attention, along with lifestyle changes.

While most literature and educational materials surrounding the disease focus on blood sugar and diet, not many sources touch on a very important aspect of living with diabetes: oral health. Studies have shown a link between diabetes and an increased risk for gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.

Diabetes patients are more susceptible to bacterial infections, and their bodies aren’t as capable of fighting the bacteria that can invade the gums and cause gum disease. In addition, if gum disease is left untreated, it can actually lead to blood glucose control problems and create more health complications.

So how can you make sure your oral health doesn’t complicate your diabetes and that your diabetes doesn’t complicate your oral health? Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. Controlling your blood glucose levels is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your mouth and your whole body.
  2. Be consistent and efficient with your oral hygiene routine. It’s imperative you floss every single day and brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  3. Never miss a dental appointment. Keeping up with your dental exams and cleanings is extremely important, and those with diabetes should ask their dentist how often they recommend coming in for a checkup.
  4. If you wear dentures, be sure to remove them and clean them daily.
  5. Avoid smoking tobacco and consuming alcohol.

For more information about diabetes and oral health care or to schedule and appointment, call us today at 425-366-8299.