Diabetes, oral health go hand-in-hand (via @SpDailyReporter)

20 Nov

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Health practitioners use National Diabetes Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about the disease that affects 29 million people in the U.S.

Dentists too are raising awareness about the relationship between diabetes and oral health.

“Diabetes and oral health go hand-in-hand because part of the problem is that diabetes cuts down on the blood supply and where there is a lack of blood supply there is less healing,” Dr. Bill Phelps, DDS, explained. “This can cause diabetics to be more prone to gum disease and periodontitis. Periodontitis destroys bone under the gums and that bone loss can lead to tooth loss.”

“It really is a two-way street,” Dr. Michaela Sailer, DDS, explained. “If a person has their diabetes controlled, they generally don’t have dental problems. If they don’t have it under control, that’s when we see things like gingivitis, inflammation of the gums and periodontitis. Not taking care of their teeth and oral hygiene can cause blood sugar spikes and make it harder for them to control their diabetes.”

Phelps and Sailer noted that due diligence to oral health and lifestyle choices can help prevent dental problems in diabetics.

“Regularly getting teeth professionally cleaned helps prevent things like periodontitis,” Dr. Phelps said. “Changing things like their diet, quitting smoking, not drinking heavily and getting good sleep also helps along with regular flossing and brushing. Smoking is the worst by far for diabetics and their teeth. A lot of things can be prevented just by making good lifestyle choices.”

“We look at things on a case-by-case basis,” Sailer said. “If a diabetic comes in every six months and everything looks good, they can stick to that schedule. If we see their teeth and gums aren’t well cared for and maybe prone to infections, then we might start having them come in for quarterly cleanings.”

Sailer, who has a daughter with diabetes, noted that diabetic children also need to be vigilant when it comes to their oral health.

“They can have similar problems as adults do if they don’t have their diabetes under control,” she said. “What I see most times in children with diabetes is swollen bleeding gums from gingivitis. They need to brush twice a day and floss everyday. Keeping their blood sugar at a stable and healthy level also helps.”

Those who are diabetic are advised to watch for the signs of infections such as bleeding gums, puffy sore gums and abnormal bad breadth.

“Pain is usually one of the last symptoms of an infection,” Phelps explained. “If you have never experienced bleeding gums before, and your gums start bleeding when you brush normally, that is a big sign. Your gums should not bleed if brushing correctly.”

He added, “The same goes with flossing. If you are not a regular flosser and you begin to floss your teeth regularly, you may have some bleeding initially. That should stop after two weeks of regular flossing. If it doesn’t you should get it checked out immediately.”

 

Source: http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/story/2252137.html

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