Spoiler Alert: Yes, there is.
You may be wondering why your dentist would need to know about medical conditions, like diabetes, that are not in your mouth. When treating you we don’t consider you to be just a mouth, we assess your treatment based on what is the healthiest solution for your whole body. According to Diabetes Canada having diabetes gives you a 75% higher risk of getting gum disease.
When most people think of complications of diabetes, they think of an increased risk of blindness, limb amputation, heart disease, and neuropathy. However, Dr. Kim and our team want you to know that recent research supports a connection between uncontrolled diabetes and dental problems. Whether you have type 2 diabetes, type 1, or gestational diabetes, uncontrolled high blood glucose levels increase the risk of certain oral health conditions, including:
- Gingivitis (early gum disease)
- Periodontal Disease (advanced gum disease)
- Dry Mouth
- Oral infections
- Poor Healing
Inflammatory disease like periodontal disease can be worse for a diabetic patient since their immune system is already compromised. If you have diabetes, it is more important than ever to take your dental care seriously and practice excellent oral hygiene. Here are some recommendations from our hygienists that will help:
- Manage your diabetes. First and foremost, it is vital to control your high blood sugars in accordance with your physician’s instructions-not only for the sake of your oral health, but for your overall wellness. With properly controlled blood sugar, you reduce your risk of developing gingivitis and other oral health issues.
- Practice good at-home oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day AND flossing or using other oral aids. Brush your teeth in the morning and at night at minimum, but also after meals and snacks if you can. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to avoid injuring your gums. Don’t neglect flossing or other aids like a rubber tip stimulator, proxabrush, interdental picks, because it helps to remove plaque below the gum line and between the teeth.
- Visit the dentist regularly. While it is important to see the dentist every six months even if you don’t have diabetes, it is even more crucial to have a professional cleaning and dental exam if you have any immune compromising condition. As dental professionals, our team at Tavistock Dental is able to give customized recommendations for you. This can be helpful in early detection of dental conditions before they develop into something more serious and costly. We may have treatments available that were not previously offered to you, like Laser Bacterial Reduction.
- Tell your dentist that you have diabetes. If you were recently diagnosed with diabetes, or even being tested or monitored for diabetes be sure to let us know as soon as possible.
- Be conscientious about examining your own gums and teeth. By looking for early signs of gum disease, which can include bleeding gums, irritated gums, gums that are red (versus a healthy pink colour), or swelling, we can get started on treatment right away.
Managing diabetes takes effort, not only in watching your diet, exercising, monitoring your blood sugar levels, and taking your medication, but obtaining proper dental care. We want to help you receive balanced care. We will make it easy for you to maintain an oral health plan with a schedule of treatment specific to you. Dr. Kim and the whole team at Tavistock Dental are behind you, just give us a call to ask a question or schedule an appointment!