November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and we want to spend some time talking about it this month! Why? Believe it or not, there is a very close relationship between oral health and the health of your body. Diabetes, in particular, can be negatively affected by the health of your mouth. What’s more is that diabetes can actually cause your mouth to be less healthy!

Let’s get down to the point:

If you are living with diabetes, you must visit the dentist for checkups very often in order to stay healthy.

There’s no way around it. Let’s dig into this relationship and what you can do to protect your health. If it’s been a while since your last appointment, go ahead and call us at 956-242-6745 (Junction Drive) or 956-517-2695 (Winfield) to schedule a cleaning.

Know The Effects of Diabetes

When you are first diagnosed with diabetes, one of the first things your doctor will want you to do is attend a class where you can learn about how your life needs to change in order to protect yourself from a rapid progression of the disease. You’ll learn about caring for your feet and eyes, how to change your diet, healthy forms of exercise, and the importance of visiting the dentist early and often.

You see, diabetes lowers your body’s response to infection. In order words, you’re more likely to develop an infection than you were before. For dentists, this is a cause for concern because even perfectly healthy people struggle to keep gum disease at bay. More than 50% of all American adults have gum disease in some form. Imagine if your body wasn’t able to fight infection!

On the flip side, gum disease infection has been known to affect diabetes in a negative way. Research shows that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can also affect your ability to control blood glucose levels. In other words, your blood sugars will be higher than they would be normally.

Finding Solutions For a Healthy Smile & Body

Now that you have a better understanding of what is at stake, let’s talk about how to keep your smile healthy and safe. If you allow gum disease to go untreated, you will likely see a rapid progression of diabetes, which could mean losing years off of your life. Let’s begin with the basics:

  1. You must brush your teeth often and well.  At least twice each day, grab a soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and brush for at least two minutes. Don’t forget to gently brush along the gumline and on the other surfaces of your mouth (tongue, palate, etc).
  2. Flossing is not optional. Let’s be honest – flossing is not optional for anyone, despite what we think. But it is especially important for patients who are prone to gum disease infections. Flossing at least once per day will remove debris and lower your risk for infection.
  3. Visit our office regularly. We ordinarily tell patients to visit our office once every six months, but periodontal disease needs to be monitored much more often. If infection is a concern, we recommend you visiting the office every quarter. Ask our team what they would recommend for you.

You can see that learning to live with diabetes takes some time, but visiting the dentist needs to be at the top of your list. We can help you protect both your teeth and your overall health. Call today at 956-242-6745 (Junction Drive) or 956-517-2695 (Winfield) to make an appointment. Be sure to let us know of your diagnosis so that we can effectively treat your mouth.