Diabetes and Your Oral Health
By Dr. Doyle Williams, Chief Dental Officer
In recognition of its annual Alert Day – March 27— the American Diabetes Association is encouraging everyone to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they might develop type 2 diabetes.
If you can, take a few minutes to do this. There is a strong link between diabetes and gum disease.
In the United States, nearly 26 million children and adults suffer from diabetes, and a quarter of them – 7 million – don’t even know they have it.
Researchers have found that gum disease is especially prevalent in diabetics. In fact, people with diabetes are at increased risk for oral health problems, such as gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) and periodontitis (serious gum disease). Diabetics are typically more vulnerable to bacterial infection and have a diminished ability to fight infection and inflammation once they invade the gums.
Gum disease can make blood sugar levels fluctuate, making it more difficult to control the disease. Diabetics are also more susceptible to other complications like bacterial infections, dry mouth and fungal infections.
These complications underscore the importance of maintaining good oral health and keeping your dentist up to date on your general health. If you have diabetes, be sure to control your blood glucose levels, and let your dentist and hygienist know of your condition so they can be ready to meet your needs.
Postpone any non-emergency dental procedures until your blood sugar levels are under control. For more information, visit http://www.diabetes.org.