November is National Diabetes Month, and we urge you to schedule regular checkups. For those of you who are not aware that you may have diabetes, certain signs and symptoms can help diagnose the disease.
One quarter of the 26 million Americans with diabetes, and 90 percent of the 79 million adults with pre-diabetes, are unaware of their condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As your dental provider we know that your mouth is the window to your health, and we are trained to look closely for signs that may indicate diabetes.
Periodontal disease, an infection that affects the gum tissue and bone that hold one’s teeth in place and can lead to bad breath, abscesses and tooth loss, may be a first indicator that a person may not have control of his or her blood sugar level. “Often it’s a problem both ways. Diabetics have difficulty controlling their periodontal disease, and people with periodontal disease have difficulty controlling their diabetes,” says Dr. Middleton. “We find that if we are able to control the periodontal disease, then the patient finds that their blood sugar levels are also much more in control.”
Diabetes also makes people more prone to other dental problems, including oral infections, thrush and dry mouth. A small amount of plaque on a non-diabetic patient may lead to gingivitis, but on a diabetic patient it may lead to rapid bone loss and the loss of teeth.
We recommend regular dental visits, where we can work closely with you to regulate the disease’s impact on your dental and overall health.