Friday, December 11th, 2015
Patients with diabetes lose twice the number of teeth than people without the disease reports a study from Duke University.
Tooth loss in the United States has dropped dramatically over the past 40 years due to better dental care, better patient education regarding home care and the use of fluoride to protect teeth. People who suffer from diabetes however, have not seen the same drop in the rate of tooth loss.
The American Dental Association said that the study highlights “both the connection between oral health and overall health”. Spokesperson Dr. Edmond Hewlett also stated that “It’s critically important to understand that managing your dental health is part of managing your diabetes.”
The American Diabetes Association recommends that physician’s refer diabetic patients to a dentist for regular care. Unfortunately, the Duke study also found that the majority of physician’s are not following this guideline. The lead researcher on the study, Dr. Bei Wu, said that “Foot care and eye care are on the top of their agenda, but dental care is not. Diabetics need to have regular dental care.”
How can you protect your smile if you have diabetes? First, brushing and flossing every day are vitally important – removing oral bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease will help protect teeth. Secondly, keep a regular schedule of appointments with your dental hygienist for professional cleanings. No matter how good oral care is at home, professional cleanings are needed to remove plaque and tartar that harbors bacteria.
Diabetic patients usually need to receive cleanings more often than patients with good overall health. Visits may be scheduled at three month intervals rather than every six months.
Of course, the diabetes/oral health connection goes both ways. Previous studies have shown that patients with active gum disease and poor oral health have a more difficult time controlling their blood sugar levels. In this case, a healthy mouth can help maintain a healthier body!
If you have diabetes and it has been a while since your last dental visit please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.
Monday, April 27th, 2015
Most people who are healthy tend to visit their dentist more often than they see their physician. After all, you usually see the dentist every six months or so but many people put off that annual checkup with their primary care physician. Our mouths are windows into our overall health and oral changes can be a red flag. Because of this, dentists often spot signs of potentially serious health issues before the doctor does!
Here are a few oral health conditions that might be linked to bigger problems:
- Bad breath might not be caused by bad oral hygiene. If you know you brush, floss and get your teeth cleaned regularly, bad breath might be caused by a stomach problem. If you have diabetes and bad breath it could be signs of a liver issue. See your physician immediately.
- Canker sores might be a sign of a mineral deficiency or gluten intolerance if you get them frequently.
- Cracked teeth can be a sign of GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) which causes stomach acids to come up through the esophagus, sometimes into the mouth. The stomach acid damages the tooth enamel and weakens the tooth structure leading to breakage.
- Receding gums or loss of teeth can sometimes be linked to osteoporosis – this is especially important for post-menopausal women.
- Mouth sores might not be a simple canker sore. If it doesn’t go away in a week or so contact your dentist so you can have an oral cancer screening.
- Gum disease is usually attributed to insufficient flossing and brushing but if you have a great oral hygiene routine and still experience gum disease you might also want to be checked for diabetes and even some forms of cardiovascular disease.
We are here to help you protect your dental health and your overall health. Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.
Thursday, March 13th, 2014
March 25 is American Diabetes Day, and although dental health should be an important part of everyone’s life, it’s especially important for those with diabetes. Studies have shown that patients with diabetes are especially susceptible to various types of oral infections and gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease. In a catch-22 situation, diabetic patients with active gum disease also have a more difficult time controlling their blood sugar levels.
Here are several tips for how diabetics can better maintain their oral and dental health:
- Get regular check-ups. Along with an annual, routine dental exam, it’s important to get a cleaning every six months. Besides keeping your mouth feeling and looking clean, regular visits to the dentist will help to preemptively catch and treat any potential dental and oral problems.
- Watch out for the signs. Since people with diabetes are more prone to infections and certain dental conditions, it’s important to know what signs and symptoms to look out for. For example, uncontrolled diabetes often leads to a decrease in saliva flow, which then causes dry mouth. Other diabetes-linked health issues and conditions to keep an eye out for include bleeding gums, gum inflammation or tenderness, and gingivitis.
- Don’t ignore healing issues. Those with diabetes – especially if they are having a hard time controlling their blood sugar – may notice that cuts or sores take longer than usual to heal. If there is a sore, ulcer or sensitive area in the oral tissue that is taking a substantial time to heal, it’s vital for the patient to visit their dentist to address this issue right away. Poor healing may also be a sign that the area’s blood flow may be damaged or hindered, so seeking treatment as soon as possible is vital for dental health.
- Control your blood sugar. Oral health issues are more likely to develop when blood sugar levels are not being properly monitored and controlled. Always strictly follow your doctor’s instructions about watching, checking and controlling your blood sugar levels. Whether that is by following a special diet, taking medication or giving yourself insulin injections, staying on top of your sugar levels will benefit your dental and overall health.
Click here to learn more about diabetes and dental health.
Dental Health in Toccoa
If you would like to learn more about oral health, annual dental check ups or any of the dental treatments that the Wilbanks Smile Center offers, contact us today and schedule your consultation. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be contacted at 706-886-9439. We look forward to hearing from you.