Diabetes has become one of the most serious diseases for US citizens, leading to an increase in heart disease and kidney failure. Although about 90% of diabetes patients have Type II, Type I is less well-known and is characterized by a lack of insulin production altogether (Type II diabetes is due to the body’s ineffective use of the hormone). With television programs such as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and movies like Fed Up becoming more popular, the general public is certainly becoming more aware of the disease and its effects on our general health. What’s less known to the public is the effect that diabetes has on our dental health, which can be significant.
According to the American Diabetes Association, “research shows that there is an increased prevalenceof gum disease among those with diabetes.” In fact, this relationship may be extremely strong, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that diabetics are twice as likely to develop gingivitis and periodontitis. Furthermore, this relationship may exist as a two-way street, as research also shows that “serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.” People with diabetes are also at an elevated risk for gingivitis (early gum disease) and periodontitis (severe gum disease).
It’s essential that diabetes patients control their blood glucose, not just for their general health, but for their dental health, as well. This can also prevent dry mouth from occurring, which can lead to soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. The relationship between blood glucose and dental health is quite strong, and a problem in either area can lead to a problem in the other. As always, proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups are vital to controlling the effects of diabetes.
Finally, it’s important for diabetic patients to ensure that their dental team is fully aware of the disease and treatment plans.
If you have any lingering questions about gum disease or your dental health, or if you would like to schedule a dental exam, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.