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Diabetes Mellitus and your Dental Health

6/7/2018
By Dr. Thomas Kassube

Diabetes Mellitus affects almost 10 percent of adult Americans. Approximately 35-40 percent of this group has diabetes and don't know it. Both incidence and prevalence are increasing each year.

The two main types of diabetes are classified primarily on the basis of their underlying physiology. Type 1 diabetes constitutes about 5-10 percent of all cases in the United States. There is destruction of insulin-producing cells of the pancreas leading to total loss of insulin secretion. Someone with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to remain alive therefore "insulin-dependent."

Type 2 diabetes constitutes about 85-90 percent of all cases. With type 2 there is insulin resistance rather than total absence of insulin production. These patients may remain undiagnosed for years because hyperglycemia appears gradually and often without symptoms.

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by oral bacteria. Over 50 percent of the United States population has periodontal disease and the severity increases with age.

Scientific research strongly suggests that diabetes is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Inflammation plays an obvious role in periodontal disease and inflammation is also a major component of diabetic complications.

Conversely, periodontal disease may also be a risk factor for worsening glycemic control in patients with diabetes and may increase the risk of diabetic complications.


What should a diabetic do for optimal oral health?
  • Keep blood glucose under control
  • Brush teeth often and floss daily.
  • Regular dental checkups and professional cleanings
  • Don't smoke
  • Give your dentist name of health care provider
  • Do not skip meals or medications

Consult your dentist right away if you have:
  • Red, sore, swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste
  • Dry mouth
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