DIABETES AND ORAL HEALTH
November is National
significant problems seen in the mouth from diabetes are gum
problems and infections.
is estimated that one-third of the population in the U.S. has diabetes.....
one-half of these individuals are diagnosed. Individuals with diabetes are
more susceptible to the development of oral infections and periodontal disease
than those who do not have diabetes.
Oral infections tend to be more severe
in someone with diabetes than a non-diabetic. Diabetics who do not have
good control over their blood sugar levels also have more oral health
problems. These infections occur more often after puberty and in aging
What kinds of problems will you experience?
Diabetics may experience
decrease in salivary flow and burning mouth or tongue. Dry mouth also may
develop, causing an increased incidence of decay. Gum recession has been
found to occur more frequently and more extensively in moderate-and
poorly-controlled diabetic patients because plaque responds differently,
creating more harmful proteins in the gums.
To prevent problems with
bacterial infections in the mouth, you may need antibiotics, medicated
mouth rinses and more frequent cleanings.
Diabetics are more
prone to the development of gum disease (periodontal
disease )from gingivitis that is caused by the presence of bacteria in
plaque. Plaque is the white sticky film that accumulates on teeth both above
and below the gum line that can harden into a rough yellow or brown deposit
Any periodontal disease you may develop can be more severe and
harder to control.
Without regular dental
disease may result if gingivitis is left untreated. It can also cause inflammation
and destruction of tissues surrounding and supporting teeth, gums, bone and
fibers which hold the gums to the teeth. Gum infections can make it hard to
control blood sugar.
Once a gum infection starts, it can take a long time to
heal. If the infection is severe, teeth can loosen or even fall out. Periodontal or gum disease is the
main cause of tooth loss in adults!
Make sure to take
extra good care of your mouth and have dental infections treated
immediately. We have a special time set aside each day for emergency
appointments for our patients.
Diabetics who receive good dental care and
have good insulin control typically have a better chance at avoiding gum disease
to help prevent tooth loss. You can do these simple things to help prevent
Dental procedures should be as short
and as stress free as possible.
Make morning appointments because blood
glucose levels tend to be under better control at this time of day.
If you have a scheduled appointment, eat and
take your medications as directed.
Test your blood sugar level and take your
blood pressure and bring these results with you to our office.
Be prepared to update your health/dental
history at each visit so we can provide you with the best possible care for
See your doctor before scheduling treatment
for periodontal disease. Have your doctor send your dentist records on
your overall medical condition BEFORE treatment starts.
Postpone non-emergency dental procedures if
your blood sugar is not in good control. However, abscesses should be
treated right away.
See your dentist on a regular basis, every
3 to 4 months, for exams and cleanings.
informed of your health status and if you have any problems controlling your
Know that healing time will take longer due
to your diabetic condition.
Follow your individualized meal plan and
learn more about meal planning and
diabetes for better blood sugar control
Good blood sugar control can prevent gum
dentists find themselves on the front lines of a larger medical
front. Dentists are well positioned to help prevent and
combat the complications of diabetes. Treating gum disease in
diabetic patients can help them keep their diabetes under
control. Evidence of this was noted by Dr. Sebastian Ciancio
in an April 2004 Dental Practice Report article, "A conversation
with Dr. Sebastian Ciancio."
"We have data that shows if patients are diabetic and we treat
disease, their diabetes improves markedly," Dr. Ciancio
Plus, the American Diabetes Association Web site flatly states:
"Gum disease can make diabetes harder to control."
Dentists can be among the first to urge patients to get tested
for the chronic disease. As a dentist may be the first health-
care professional to suspect a patient has diabetes, dentists
can order appropriate tests or refer patients to physicians to
The Food and Drug Administration today approved
a wristwatch-like device that provides adult diabetics with more
information for managing their disease. It is intended
for use along with, not as a replacement for, finger-prick
blood tests to monitor glucose. The
GlucoWatch Biographer, made by Cygnus Inc., of Redwood City,
Calif., extracts fluid through the skin
by sending out tiny electric currents. Glucose levels are
measured using this fluid every 20 minutes for 12 hours-even
during sleep. The device sounds an alarm if patient's
glucose reaches dangerous levels, thus helping patients manage
a potential problem.
Currently the GlucoWatch measurements must be
used along with finger pricks
accurate results 3/01