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Don’t Ditch the Dentist

The importance of regular checkups for those living with diabetes

Laura KolodjeskiLaura Kolodjeski

Six months always seems to pass very quickly. Before I know it, it’s time to go to the dentist again. While the cleaning isn’t the most exciting way to spend a half hour, I do enjoy speaking with my dental hygienist (when she doesn’t have tools in my mouth). This time, during our normal chitchat, a question came up – “How’s your job going?” I told her about Discuss Diabetes and some of the articles I have been researching and writing. She went on to tell me that there is a link between gum disease and diabetes, and that people living with diabetes must take extra care of their teeth. This sparked an idea for a blog post! So I sat down to do some reading.

The American Dental Association says there is a link between gum disease and diabetes because of the higher amounts of blood glucose associated with the condition. The American Dental Association also says it’s important to visit the dentist regularly – which may mean more than the recommended two cleanings per year.

Additionally, people living with diabetes must take extra care of their teeth because it could not only lead to the loss of teeth from gum disease, but it may be a contributing factor to raising blood glucose levels. The American Diabetes Association suggests a good way to control thrush, a fungal infection, is to manage your diabetes, avoid smoking and, if you wear them, remove and clean dentures daily. To maintain proper oral hygiene and stave off gum disease, you should brush twice a day and floss regularly.

The American Diabetes Association maps out some of the warning signs to look for (below) and also provides some tips for optimal oral health here:

  • Bleeding gums when you brush or floss. This bleeding is not normal. Even if your gums don’t hurt, get them checked
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from teeth. Part of the tooth’s root may show, or your teeth may look longer
  • Pus between the teeth and gums (when you press on the gums)
  • Bad breath
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or moving away from each other
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit when you bite
  • Changes in the fit of partial dentures or bridges

How often do you visit the dentist? Is there anything I left out that people with diabetes should know about their oral health? You can share your comment with us below or on our Facebook Page.

All the best,

Laura K.

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