Diabetics Should Watch Their Mouths

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Of the 26 million people who have diabetes, an estimated seven million have no idea that they have the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. With those figures in mind, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that regular health care checkups may help to identify potential signs of diabetes.

“Oral health and overall health are related, so part of my role as a dentist is to flag signs of poor oral health that might also signal other serious health conditions,” said Alice G. Boghosian, DDS, a consumer advisor for the ADA who practices in Illinois. “Severely inflamed gums, coupled with a patient’s medical history, can be cause for concern.”

Patients with diabetes have a lower resistance to infection. That, along with with a longer healing process, makes them more susceptible to developing gum disease and developing a more severe form of the disease.

A recent study in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that one in five cases of total tooth loss in the United States can be linked to diabetes. A dentist can be a valuable member of a patient’s diabetes health care team to help check for the signs of gum disease and provide tips on how to keep patients mouth healthy.

Regardless of your health status, the ADA recommends everyone practice good oral health habits by brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, eating a healthy diet and visiting your dentist regularly.

For more information on diabetes and oral health, please visit mouthhealthy.org