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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Did you know there is an advanced connection between Diabetes and oral health concerns?

One common symptom of diabetes is intense thirst, which can lead to a dry mouth. Decreased amounts of saliva can increase oral problems; less saliva tends to equal more cavities, because saliva washes away bacteria and acids. If you have diabetes, our dental team encourages you to drink more fluids, like water or other sugar-free beverages. Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy to increase saliva flow. Some patients have found relief by using saliva substitutes, and you may want to consider that option.

Flossing and brushing your teeth daily is very important in preventing gum disease. Unfortunately, our diabetic patients suffer more from the effects of gum disease than others. Basically, gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss. Bacteria based; it can destroy your gums, tissue, and the bone around your teeth, and begins with plaque (a sticky film of food, saliva, and bacteria) is not removed from the gums and gum line. When you floss and brush daily, you clean away the plaque. Any plaque that is not removed will begin to harden into tarter, which can only be successfully removed by a dental professional.

As Gum Disease progresses, it becomes more severe. The second stage is called periodontitis; it’s at this stage that gum tissue pulls away from teeth. Pockets form between your teeth and gums and there is a possibility you may need gum surgery to save them. Research has shown that people with diabetes are at risk for serious gum disease because in general they are more susceptible to bacterial infection, and have a decreased ability to fight the specific bacteria that invade the gums. The Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health states: good oral health is integral to general health. Be sure to maintain your teeth and keep a schedule of regular visits to Drs. Kutsch and Renyer.

Another effect of diabetes is a slower healing process for mouth sores or cheek bites. To speed up healing time, keep your mouth clean and healthy. Be sure to have routine dental exams and cleanings, and maintain a daily routine of flossing and brushing. By planning ahead and discussing a plan of action with Drs. Kutsch and Renyer and your physician, you will be prepared to handle adjustments in controlling your blood sugar if an infection should occur.

Our team is committed to excellence in dental care. If a family member has Diabetes, please support and encourage them in routine dental care. If you have Diabetes, we have the experience and education to give you the best quality care with your specific concerns in mind. Let us help you control your blood sugar and oral health; be sure and tell us all the medications you are taking. Updating your health and medical records during each visit will ensure you get superior care and the best possible outcome. You CAN manage your Diabetes, and we would love to help.

Call us today for more information.