Diabetes Awareness Month and the Impact on Oral Health

Did you know how you care for your teeth doesnât just affect your oral health, it can impact overall health as well! Researchers have found clear links between the mouth and other parts of the body â and the evidence is especially impactful for people with diabetes. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and a great time to learn about how keeping your mouth healthy can help keep you healthy too. The correlations between gum disease and diabetes go both ways. Diabetes reduces the bodyâs ability to fight infection, making it harder for the mouth to fend off gum disease. Because of this, diabetes makes gum disease worse, and people with diabetes get gum disease more easily. In fact, one study showed that people with gum disease are up to two times more likely to develop type II diabetes than people with healthy gums. Gum disease can also progress faster in people with diabetes and may even be one of the reasons some people get type II diabetes or pregnancy diabetes in the first place. Gum disease can also complicate heart and kidney problems â which are common in people with diabetes â because bacteria in the mouth can easily spread into the bloodstream, where it can affect other areas of the body. Just as the risk factors are similar, so are many of the management methods. Maintaining good blood-sugar levels doesnât just control diabetes, it also helps lower the risks of gum disease. Likewise, adhering to a balanced diet of healthy foods is important in managing both diabetes and gum disease because it provides the nutrients the mouth and the whole body need to stay healthy and fend off infection. Most of all, regular dental visits are vital to treating gum disease, and can be beneficial to diabetes management as well! If you or someone you know exhibits symptoms of diabetes or gum disease, visiting a dentist can help diagnose both diseases and serve as a starting point on the path to whole body health.


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