Diabetes and Oral Health

Dont ignore that pink in the sink.

Charles W Martin By Charles W Martin, DDS
Founder, DentistryForDiabetics.com

Have you ever seen blood in the sink when you flossed or brushed your teeth? If you have, that's not unusual – but it's also not normal. Yet people often think "just a little" blood in the mouth is normal and they don't call their dentist right away.

They should. When it comes to diabetes and oral health, it's especially important to check out blood in the mouth; even if you have diabetes or prediabetes. Blood, no matter how small the quantity, is a sure sign that you have a gum problem that your dentist needs to examine right away!

Don't wait, because it will probably get worse and can develop into a serious periodontal disease that will be more difficult to treat, more expensive to treat, and uncomfortable to live with. At this stage, the same gum disease that causes bleeding in your mouth can also complicate your diabetes and oral health care.

Diabetes and Oral Health: What to Do

Treating gum disease reduces oral inflammation. That removes the factor that triggers the body's inflammatory response, which plays a major role in compounding the effects of diabetes. Dental treatment of gum infections can also help you improve control of your blood sugar levels.

In many cases, your dentist may be able to reverse the damage that's been done to your teeth and gums as well as help you manage the metabolic elements of diabetes. If you haven't yet developed any symptoms of diabetes-related oral health problems, your dentist can help you start a prevention program that will help you stay in control of your diabetes, maintain better health, and enjoy a preferred quality of life.

It's never too late to start getting good oral health care. Even if you already have severe gum disease or other dental problems, proper treatment can help stop it in its tracks, help you keep your diabetes under control, improve the quality of your life, and reduce your risk of premature death. If you have prediabetes, your dentist may actually be able to help you prevent diabetes.

Maintenance of your mouth is like maintenance of anything else you want to keep in good working order. It takes constant care and vigilance. That's why dentists preach regular check ups, flossing, and brushing. There's no better time to start than right now to work together with your physician and your dentist to take control of your own health destiny. Focus on your dental health, and you'll find your overall health is better as a result.

For more information about diabetes and oral health, visit http://www.dentistryfordiabetics.com and Dr. Martin's blog, http://www.dentistryfordiabetics.com/blog.

This article was excerpted from Dr. Martin's new book about the two-way connections between diabetes and gum disease.

Read Dr. Charles Martin's bio here.

Read more of Dr. Martin's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition. 

Last Modified Date: July 01, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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