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Posts Tagged ‘diabetes and your smile and oral health’

Why Does My Dentist Need to Know If I Have Diabetes?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

diabetes and your smile and oral health

When you have diabetes, you are more likely to develop problems in your mouth, and you also less equipped to heal after dental surgery.

And, according to the American Diabetes Association, the most common problem affecting gums and teeth for people with diabetes is gum disease.

Think of your dentist as someone who is an advocate for your total health and well-being.

If we don’t know you are living with diabetes, we aren’t knowledgeable about the state of your health, and we may not be able to be as proactive in contributing to your treatment strategy.

Because diabetes makes you prone to other mouth problems – not “just” gum disease – if we know your health status, we are able to ensure that you are taking all the steps to best manage your blood sugar. Additionally, there are medications that can result in drastic and impactful changes in the mouth.

For instance, certain medications can drastically reduce the amount of saliva you have in your mouth, which can greatly impact your ability to “naturally” cleanse your teeth. As a result, we can see a drastic, and immediate change in the amount of harmful bacteria (and plaque) in your mouth – if you were to do nothing to manage this change in the mouth. All of this can happen relatively quickly, but with greater communication around your medications, we can come up with a strategy and plan to encourage a healthy mouth.

All in all, when we know the medications you’re taking, we’re better equipped to give you recommendations that take your entire health into account.

medication and diabetes

Mouth Problems: What to Know

In an ideal situation, we have a plan, and we manage our blood sugar levels, stay on a healthy nutrition plan, and continue daily, good oral health habits. If we also see a dentist regularly we can prevent problems, but if a problem occurs, we can catch it early!

When we have poor blood sugar control, we see an increase in the risk for gum problems. Just like with other infections, gum disease can cause our blood sugar to rise. And then, as a result, diabetes can be harder to manage because you are less able to fight bacteria and even more susceptible to infections.

If Our Blood Sugar is Uncontrolled…

If our blood sugar becomes uncontrolled, we may experience dry mouth and bad breath. What’s worse is that we can end up with thrush, inflammation in our gums and infections in the mouth.

Warning signs that you have an oral infection include:

  • Swelling or pus around the teeth or gums – even if small
  • Pain in your mouth that doesn’t go away
  • Pain when chewing
  • Dark spots in your teeth
  • The appearance of holes in your teeth
  • White or red patches on your gum tissue or anywhere in the mouth

Call us if you have diabetes and any of the signs or symptoms listed above.

Keep Taking Care of Your Teeth

The Canadian Diabetes Association says that, “Because periodontal disease is an infection, bacteria produce toxins that affect the carbohydrate metabolism in individual cells. It is also thought that the host response to periodontal bacteria can increase insulin resistance and, therefore, blood glucose levels.” Said another way, there is evidence to suggest (although cause and effect is not quite determined) that there is a two-way link between the state of your mouth and your management of diabetes (1).

If anything, this assertion just reinforces the idea that we have to be proactive in taking care of our mouths. Step one? Telling your dentist this major lifestyle change – that way we can work together to reduce your risk of complications and prevent gum and mouth infections or gum disease.

keep your teeth healthy

We Support Your Entire Health: Give Hagen Dental a Call Today

We want you to help you manage your diabetes – in a way that is as comfortable as possible. We’re here to partner with you so you can improve your total health.

Have questions? We’d love to answer them. Hagen Dental is supportive no matter where you are on your health journey. Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit for you or your family.

Sources/References

  1. http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/oral-health/5-reasons-why-oral-care-matters/
  2. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/more-on-the-mouth.html
  3. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diabetes