01 Aug 2021

The Diabetes and Oral Health Connection

Patients in the San Diego, CA area who have a diagnosis of diabetes may not be aware that there is a link between oral hygiene and diabetes. In fact, this oral systemic connection, when found and addressed, can help patients live healthier lifestyles and in some cases, manage their diabetes without medication! Drs. William Carlo and Scott O’Brien are dentists in Bankers Hills that can educate patients on the link between these two conditions and how to improve both oral health and overall health with treatment.

Diabetes and dental treatment in Bankers Hill

Many patients who find out they have conditions such as periodontal disease might also be told by their primary care provider that they have diabetes. The effects of diabetes on the teeth, as well as the effects of oral health with diabetes, is well-researched and studied. It continues to show the connection due to the oral systemic connection. This links oral health conditions such as infections to other problems throughout the body. Not only does a patient with periodontal disease have a higher risk of developing diabetes, but they may also be prone to other health concerns such as heart disease and stroke. With proper evaluation and treatment, many patients can address both issues with the help of their dentist and primary care physician!

Common dental problems in diabetic patients

Patients who have diabetes need to control their blood sugar levels. If their blood sugar levels remain high and are left untreated, they may experience the effects of diabetes on the teeth, including:

  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Early stages of gum disease (periodontal disease or gingivitis)
  • Advanced gum disease (periodontitis)
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Thrush (fungal infection)
  • Loose teeth (caused by bone loss from periodontitis)

How proper dental care can reduce the effect of diabetes on the teeth and gums

To prevent damage to the smile, patients who have diabetes need to take their oral healthcare seriously. Dental care is important to reduce the risk of diabetes and permanent harm to the smile. Below are a few recommendations for proper dental care for diabetic patients:

  • Take control of your diabetes. Managing your condition, as well as your blood sugar levels, is essential to maintaining a healthy smile.
  • Brush your teeth. Brushing at least twice a day, but preferably after every meal. Patients might want to use an electric toothbrush to ensure more effective cleanings.
  • Floss your teeth. Flossing at least once a day removes food particles between the teeth. Some patients use traditional floss while others may utilize a water pik—both options are effective and recommended by dentists.
  • Schedule regular dental visits. Routine monitoring of one’s oral health, as well as regular cleanings of the teeth and gums, can contribute to a healthier smile.
  • Notify your dentist of medical conditions. It is vital that your dentist is aware that you have been diagnosed with diabetes or other conditions to better care for your smile and make appropriate treatment recommendations.
  • Monitor oral health. Be aware of the early signs and symptoms of conditions such as periodontal disease and tooth decay so you know when to contact the dentist for an evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment to address the problem.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking significantly increases one’s risk of diabetes and oral complications, so quitting is a wonderful idea for anyone who is dealing with medical issues related to their habit.

Contact a dentist in Bankers Hill to discuss your dental needs

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are interested in finding out if your oral health is linked, it is time for an evaluation from a trained and skilled dental professional. Drs. William Carlo and Scott O’Brien of San Diego, CA area available to help! Call (619) 285-0950 to request a consultation visit and evaluation with our team.

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