November is American Diabetes Month, during which we dedicate the entire 30 days to encouraging communities to come together and raise awareness of diabetes. While there is no cure for this disease that plagues nearly 30 million Americans, research continues to bring us closer to answers, make advancements in treatment, and link diabetes with other health problems.
Those with diabetes have surely learned that uncontrolled diabetes can contribute to problems throughout your body – your eyes, nerves, kidneys, and heart can all be affected by diabetes. However, we find at my dental office in Atlanta that many of these individuals aren’t aware of the potential oral health complications that may also arise.
For example, people battling diabetes have an increased chance of developing gum disease. Not simply because those with diabetes have an increased susceptibility to bacteria, but they also have a decreased ability to fight it off. This makes flossing, brushing, and visiting your dentist in Atlanta regularly extremely important so the bacteria that thrives in the mouth doesn’t cause major problems.
Not only that, but gum disease can affect blood glucose and make diabetes more difficult to manage and can even make it worse. Gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, can be treated fairly easily if caught early. However, periodontitis, a more advanced form of gum disease, is more difficult to treat and can eventually lead to tooth loss.
When gum disease hits the severity of periodontitis, your gums pull away from your teeth, and create pockets where germs and bacteria love to hide. The bacteria causes the pockets to deepen and, if left untreated, the infection will destroy the bone holding your teeth in place, causing the teeth to move, become loose, or fall out.
Other oral health problems that can result from diabetes include thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth) and dry mouth. These can create even more issues like ulcers, infections, cavities, and more.
The best way to prevent oral health problems for a patient with diabetes is to control their blood glucose level, and brush, floss daily, and maintain visits to my Atlanta dental office at least twice yearly. People with diabetes have unique oral health needs, so it’s important to let us know about your health history including any medication and changes to your diabetes. We’re here to help you maintain optimal full-body health, not just your teeth.
Serving patients in Buckhead, Atlanta, Sandy Springs.