Diabetes & Your Oral Health

Posted on Feb 28, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Although many adults feel that brushing their teeth twice a day is sufficient for maintaining a healthy mouth, these measures fall short of preventing cavities and gum disease. It is estimated that only 12% of the adult population in the U. S. floss their teeth daily. Additionally, many adults fail to keep their 6-month dental hygiene appointments, using a rationale of “if it doesn’t hurt, nothing is wrong.”

In a developed country such as the United States, it’s amazing that so many people have some level of periodontal (gum) disease, nearly half of all adults over the age of 30. The bacteria of gum disease not only contributes to cavities and tooth loss, it causes an inflammatory reaction in the body and has been linked to heart disease, stroke, memory loss, arthritis, preterm babies and impotency.

Now, research has shown a link between gum disease and diabetes. It’s yet to be determined where the connection begins. Further research is needed to pinpoint if one disease causes the other. However, considering that there are more than 25 million adults who are diabetic, the need for continued study is important.

On the positive side, it has been shown that once diabetics improve their periodontal health, they can also improve the complications of diabetes and even the control of blood sugar.

As studies continue on health problems related to gum disease and diabetes, remember that preventing the disease is easier and less expensive than treating it. If you have been less than diligent with your daily and flossing regimen or have delayed regular dental check-ups, a periodontal exam is warranted. Call (828) 274-9440 to arrange this first step to a healthier smile and healthier you, overall!

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