Diabetes and the MouthMore than 30 million people in our country have diabetes, with another 80 million who are pre-diabetic and 7 million undiagnosed, making diabetes one of the largest health care concerns in our nation. The American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org) has declared November as American Diabetes Month to bring awareness to the disease.
In addition to complications such as heart attack and stroke, diabetics also suffer from oral health problems. Diabetes is an illness that clearly demonstrates how disease in the body can affect the mouth and how good oral health habits can impact the body in a positive way.
Diabetics often have periodontal issues, especially bleeding gums. Since diabetics have a compromised immunity, their bodies have a hard time fighting infection and a hard time healing. This, along with high blood sugar levels, creates an environment ideal for plaque germs to thrive.
Medications such as cholesterol and heart meds that diabetics often take to treat multiple systemic conditions can cause dry mouth, a serious oral condition. (See my post on dry mouth, http://bit.ly/1iVx5dE). Diabetics may also be prone to thrush, a fungal infection. This shows up in the mouth as sore red and white patches.
People with diabetes should take their medications, eat right, exercise,
and take very good care of their mouths. Diabetics should know their A1C test results (average blood sugar level,) and inform their dentist and dental hygienist of any medication changes or changes in medical treatment. Because the disease pathway of diabetes runs both ways, taking care of the teeth and gums can help diabetics keep blood sugar and infection under control.
|A healthy diet is important for everyone. |
(photo Y. Mikalopas)
In order to help people who have questions about diabetes, USA.gov is sponsoring a question and answer series on Facebook and Twitter over the next couple of weeks. Use #YesSalud to participate and to get more information.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition or illness. Please see your medical or dental professional for treatment. Take care of yourself!