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Diabetes and oral health

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

As some of you may know, I’ve been going through a lot of dental work lately. Good dental health is SO important and often overlooked by PWD. I know… we have so many other doctors to deal with! I have been guilty of this, hence by bimonthly trips to the dentist office recently. But I’m hoping you all can benefit from my noncompliance by following my advice…do not ignore your biannual checkups!

Periodontal, or gum disease, is the most common diabetes dental complication. High salivary glucose levels can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. When this bacterium combines with food, plaque is formed. Plaque causes tooth decay, cavities, periodontitis, and bad breath. All these things, but especially periodontitis can make blood glucose levels difficult to manage.

Plaque hardens over time and becomes tarter which can cause an inflammation of the gums, called gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis turns to periodontitis and the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets that are easily infected. In response to this infection, the body begins to break down bone and tissue which can often lead to lose teeth that need to be removed.

Signs of periodontitis include; bleeding gums, gums that have pulled away from the teeth, gum infections, bad breath, and loose permanent teeth.

Now, lets talk prevention! Biannual checkups are A MUST! Brush your teeth at least twice a day, more if you are eating starchy foods. Change toothbrushes at least every 3 months. Floss a minimum of once a day. Tell your dentist IMMEDIATELY if you have any of the symptoms above. And last, but certainly not least, be open with your dentist about your diabetes. Inform them of any changes to your regimen, your HbA1c results, and some of your BG readings.

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