Diabetic Patients Lose Twice The TeethFriday, December 11th, 2015, 4:38 pm
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.