Diabetes and Oral Health

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Dr. Jacueline Butler Mitchell Tooth Talk

It is estimated that over 12 million Americans have Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes and close to 75% of these patients also have oral infections, (gingivitis and periodontal disease).  When you have diabetes, high blood sugar can take a toll on your entire body, including your teeth and gums.  Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, managing your blood sugar level is key.  The higher your blood sugar level, the more at risk you are of cavities and gum disease.

Proper Dental Care is Key

• Make a commitment to manage your diabetes.  Monitor your blood sugar level and follow your doctor’s instructions on keeping your levels within your target range.

• Brush your teeth at least twice a day.  Use a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride.  Avoid rigorous scrubbing of your teeth so that you won’t irritate your gums.  If you are having difficulties with brushing consider an electric toothbrush and remember to change your toothbrush every 3 months.

• Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove unwanted plaque.

• Schedule your regular dental checkups for twice a year for your professional cleaning and exam.

• Make sure your dentist knows you have diabetes.  Each time you visit your dentist, remind your dentist that you do have diabetes.

• Look for early signs of gum disease.  Let your dentist know of any redness, swelling, and bleeding of your gums you have noticed when brushing.  Also let your dentist know of any other changes you have noticed such as loose teeth, ulcers in your mouth, or even if your mouth is dry a lot.

• Smoking and Drinking are not good to do when you have diabetes.  Smoking increases the risk of serious diabetes complications, including gum disease. Drinking alcohol can cause your blood sugar to either rise or fall in addition to alcohol having a lot of calories.

Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment and that includes proper dental care.  Your efforts will be rewarded with a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.  I hope this Tooth Talk has helped answer questions about diabetes and oral health.

If you have any additional questions please call my office or email me dr.jmitchell@integritydentalcares.com; Integrity Dental Care, PLLC, (615) 445-8700

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