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Norge Dental Center Blog

National Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes and Your Oral Health November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so this is an opportune time to learn more about your oral health.  Diabetes is more common than you may think. In fact, almost 10% or 30 million people living in the United States have diabetes, and studies suggest another 8 million people don’t know they have it. 

Diabetes impacts your body’s ability to process sugar, resulting in high blood sugar levels.  One may experience problems with eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and extremities. Did you know diabetes left untreated can also affect your oral health.

Researchers agree there is an increased presence of gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease) among diabetics.  They are more susceptible to bacterial infection. Symptoms of untreated diabetes include: dry mouth; inflamed and bleeding gums; diminished ability to taste food; and delayed wound healing.   What can you do?  Your dentist and hygienist know diabetics have special needs and they are well-equipped to be part of your health care team, with your help.  Be sure to share your health history with your dental providers, and provide them with a current list of medications. Here are some important steps YOU can take:
  • Control your blood glucose; this is key to controlling and preventing mouth problems.
  • Brush well twice a day, with a soft brush, and floss regularly.
  • Schedule routine checkups at least twice per year.  Some insurance companies will allow a third exam for those with diabetes!
  • Remove and clean dentures daily, and alert your dentist if they make your gums sore.
  • QUIT SMOKING.  Smoking negatively affects all parts of your body and it exacerbates gum disease as well.
Your dentist and hygienist will provide regular cleanings and exams.  If you have periodontal disease, you may require a deep cleaning, or you may be referred to a periodontist for gum surgery.  Your dentist can prescribe a special mouth rinse for your teeth and gums, as well as a special solution for your dentures. Your dental team will partner with you to ensure you have the healthiest mouth possible.  Just make sure you do your part too!

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