With nearly 30 million Americans living with some form of diabetes, medical professionals have set aside the month of November to raise awareness about the disease. The ultimate goals are to aid in prevention and to help people diagnosed with diabetes to live healthier lives. Dentists are especially invested in this issue, as they constantly expand their knowledge of how diabetes affects your oral health in Plano, TX. As you continue reading, learn about the connection between diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease, and why National Diabetes Month is an important time of the year.
What is Diabetes?
The pancreas has the job of creating insulin, which is a hormone that is emitted into the bloodstream to mobilize glucose (sugar) and other nutrients so they can be put to use. When this organ isn’t functioning properly, diabetes can develop, which is the inability of the body to regulate glucose. As a result, the blood can become toxic, which can lead to a host of problems.
There are two forms of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. The following explains how they differ.
- Type 1 – a rarer form of diabetes that a person is typically born with, where the immune system attacks the insulin-producing islets cells in the pancreas, rendering the person insulin-dependent
- Type 2 – the non-insulin dependent form of diabetes, where the effects are typically slower than those of Type 1 diabetes
When it comes to your oral health, both forms of diabetes increase the chances of periodontal disease developing. What’s the connection, though?
Periodontal Disease Explained
The primary contributor to the development of periodontal disease is acute oral bacteria growth. And since sugar happens to be the primary food of choice of bacteria, patients who have diabetes and who struggle with blood-sugar management are at a greater risk of developing periodontal disease.
Therefore, one of the focuses of National Diabetes Month is to provide some best practices to protect the teeth and gums.
Periodontal Disease Prevention Tips
Along with seeking treatment from a physician for diabetes, here are some dental care practices to implement into your lifestyle:
- Brush for two full minutes, twice daily.
- With every session of toothbrushing, be sure to floss.
- Rinse daily with an ADA-approved mouthwash.
- Chew gum after a meal to help stimulate saliva production, which bathes the teeth.
- Take any medication as prescribed to help regulate blood-sugar levels.
- Maintain semi-annual dental visits so that a dentist can identify any potential problems before they fully develop.
A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to be “the end of the world.” By following the protocols provided by your physician and seeking the expert care of a dentist, the disease can be managed, and your teeth and gums protected.
About the Author
A graduate of Baylor’s College of Dentistry, Dr. Jason Montgomery understands that there is a definite overlap between your oral and total wellness. That’s why he takes the time to educate his patients about how to achieve balance through proper dental health. Dr. Montgomery treats periodontal disease at his private practice, and he can be reached for more information through his website.