Diabetes-month

November is American Diabetes Month

Consider that while almost 30 million people in the U.S. have some form of diabetes, one in four don’t even realize they’re walking around with the disease. National Diabetes Month is an annual event each November to boost awareness about the risk factors, symptoms, and types of diabetes.

Diabetes is a disease that can affect the whole body, including your mouth. Dental care is particularly important for people with diabetes because they face a higher than normal risk of oral health problems due to poorly controlled blood sugars. The less well controlled the blood sugar, the more likely oral health problems will arise. This is because uncontrolled diabetes impairs white blood cells, which are the body’s main defense against bacterial infections that can occur in the mouth.
People with diabetes face a higher risk of:

  •  Dry Mouth – Uncontrolled diabetes can decrease saliva flow, resulting in dry mouth. Dry mouth can further lead to soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay.
  • Gum inflammation (gingivitis and periodontitus). Besides impairing white blood cells, another complication of diabetes is that it causes blood vessels to thicken, which slows the flow of nutrients to and waste products from body tissues, including the mouth. When this combination of events happens, the body’s ability to fight infections is reduced. Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, diabetics with uncontrolled disease may experience more frequent and more severe gum disease.
  • Poor healing of oral tissues. People with uncontrolled diabetes do not heal quickly after oral surgery or other dental procedures because blood flow to the treatment site can be impaired.
  • Thrush – People with diabetes who frequently take antibiotics to fight various infections are especially prone to developing a fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. The fungus thrives on the high glucose levels in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Burning mouth and/or tongue. This condition is caused by the presence of thrush.

In summary, since people with diabetes are more prone to conditions that may harm their oral health, it’s essential to follow good dental care practices and to pay special attention to any changes in your oral health and to seek a prompt dental consultation if such changes occur.

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