Livonia Dentist Discusses American Diabetes Month and Your Oral Health

Did you know that that people with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease? The American Diabetes Association reports that diabetic patients become more susceptible to gum disease, oral and fungal infections, poor healing, and dry mouth-related conditions. Livonia dentist, Dr. James R. Stewart Jr., wants to inform you about the signs of diabetes and its relationship to your dental health.

Diabetes Facts

November is American Diabetes Month and the American Diabetes Association is running a campaign to raise awareness about the disease. Facts from the American Diabetes Association website include:

  • Number of U.S. children and adults with Diabetes: almost 26 million
  • Number of U.S. children and adults at risk for developing diabetes: 79 million
  • National cost of diagnosed cases of diabetes in the U.S.: $174 billion
  • Proportion of people with diabetes who die from heart disease or stroke: 2 out of 3
  • Leading cause of kidney failure and the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults: diabetes
  • Rate of diabetes patients that experience nerve damage: 60-70%.

These numbers stagger the mind. That we have the ability to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, its most common form, by diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight, makes the number of cases even harder to believe. Through American Diabetes Month, the American Diabetes Association aims to focus the nation’s attention on diabetes, the issues surrounding it, and how people are impacted by the disease.

The Effects of Diabetes on Oral Health

With diabetes, your body cannot fight germs and bacteria well. In the mouth, germs may invade your gums and you cannot fight the battle as well as a person who does not have diabetes. This can result in a bacterial infection and gum disease. To prevent gum disease, patients with diabetes should use toothpaste developed for gum disease and use proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Diabetes makes you more susceptible to thrush and other fungal infections. High blood sugar and frequent use of antibiotics cause white or red patches in your mouth that can become sore and ulcerous. Smoking and wearing dentures increase the possibility of thrush. Speak to your primary care physician if you notice symptoms of thrush.

Diabetics heal poorly, increasing the chance of infection after dental surgery. To boost your own healing ability, pay special attention to your blood sugar before, during, and after surgery, and control it as well as possible.

High blood sugar levels in diabetics leads to dry mouth. A mouth that lacks saliva cannot clear out  germs and acids. Tooth decay and salivary gland infections may develop. People with dry mouth can drink more water, chew sugarless gum, and  consult their dentist to help their condition.

Where to Obtain More Information

Your primary care physician can advise you on your individual plan to prevent or to care for diabetes. The American Diabetes Association website contains a wealth of information on diabetes facts, prevention, treatment, and day-to-day living. If you live or work in Livonia, Farmington Hills, Farmington, Plymouth, Northville, Novi, Dearborn Heights, Dearborn, Garden City, Westland, Redford, and surrounding areas, call our 48154 dentist office at 734.425.4400 to make an appointment. Dr. Stewart will be happy to discuss your diabetes-related oral health concerns.