According to the American Dental Association, 1 in 5 cases of tooth loss are linked to diabetes. Since November is American Diabetes Month, it is an excellent time to emphasize the undeniable link between diabetes and dental health. This connection is a two-way street. The high blood sugar levels of uncontrolled diabetes can greatly increase a patient’s risk for serious gum disease. However, the presence of gum disease in diabetic individuals can negatively impact blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. Since gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States, we need to educate patients on how to prevent it, which includes explaining the importance of strong dental health in those with diabetes.
If you are diabetic, here is a step-by-step guide to help you retain a healthy, natural smile:
- Manage your diabetes and keep your blood glucose levels under control. The better management you have over your diabetes, the less likely you are to develop gum disease and other dental problems.
- Practice good oral hygiene. Perhaps more than others, it is vitally important that you brush twice a day and floss daily to keep harmful bacteria and plaque build up away. Be sure to seek treatment immediately for thrush or other fungal infections if they occur.
- See your dentist every six months. Remember that a professional dental cleaning can accomplish tasks that regular brushing cannot (such as removing tartar or hardened plaque). Your dentist also needs to carefully monitor your gum health on a routine basis. Catching gum disease at its earliest stages is very important to the success of your treatment. You may need a periodic deep cleaning or scaling and root planing to keep your gums in optimal shape.
If you have experienced tooth loss and you are diabetic, Dr. Wayne Suway can discuss your treatment options and your potential candidacy for dental implants based on your current oral health and diabetes condition. Although diabetes presents some challenges when it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, your extra efforts can pay off for a healthy, long-lasting smile.