The Connection Between Diabetes and Dental Health: November is National Diabetes Month

by | Nov 2, 2020 | Blog Posts

The Connection Between Diabetes and Dental Health: November is National Diabetes Month

Most people know that diabetes can negatively impact your vision and take a toll on your kidneys and other organs. But, did you know that diabetes can also affect your oral health? The American Academy of Periodontology found that diabetes can increase the risk of gum disease, [1] and there are a host of other oral health problems associated with diabetes. Dentists can play a major role in managing diabetes and dental health. They can also help diabetic patients improve metabolic control of their disease. [2]

Which Oral Health Problems Are Associated With Diabetes?

Higher blood sugar levels are associated with a greater amount of sugar in your saliva, [3] which means that plaque can grow more easily. More plaque can lead to a higher risk of cavities, infection, and gum disease.

Diabetic patients who have problems controlling their blood sugar are at risk of developing oral health problems such as:

As a result of these problems, diabetic patients can experience pain, bad breath, sores, difficulty chewing, and even tooth loss. These oral health maladies can worsen with improper glucose level management, and once gum disease sets in, it becomes more difficult to get blood sugar under control.[4]

What Role Do Dentists Play in Helping to Maintain Oral Health and Control Blood Sugar?

It’s important to let your dentist know about your diabetes and other medical conditions. By reviewing your medical history, your dentist can perform a better evaluation of your oral health. Your dentist can also consult with your other healthcare providers to discover whether or not your diabetes is under proper control and determine which treatments are safe and appropriate. Dentists are sometimes even able to detect undiagnosed cases of diabetes when they have access to your medical history.

Treatment for dental problems associated with diabetes typically includes deep cleaning and medication (oral and/or topical) prescribed for your specific condition.[4] The dental team will also have a glucometer available to test blood glucose levels and is trained to intervene if a patient experiences hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.

Regular visits to your dentist can do more than treat a specific oral health problem. Treating gum disease can actually improve blood sugar control and make it easier to manage your diabetes. When you improve your oral hygiene and get regular professional deep cleanings, you may be able to lower your HbA1c. HbA1c is the test that lets you know how well you’re managing your diabetes by averaging your blood sugar levels over a three-month period. [5]

Find a Dentist Who Can Effectively Manage Your Diabetes and Dental Health

Dr. Tehila Cohen at Empire Dental Care provides safe and gentle dentistry in the Rochester area. Dr. Cohen has practiced dentistry for more than ten years and has built on her extensive knowledge to master the most advanced techniques. The entire team at Empire Dental Care will put you at ease while offering the kind of comprehensive care that leads to better dental and overall health. Call us today at 585-671-1650 to schedule your appointment or to find out more about our practice.

 

Sources:

[1] American Academy of Periodontology: https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-and-diabetes.htm#:~:text=Diabetic%20patients%20are%20more%20likely,more%20susceptible%20to%20contracting%20infections

[2]The Journal of American Dental Association: https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(14)65196-5/fulltext

[3] National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC): https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/diabetes-and-other-endocrine-disorders/diabetes-and-dental-treatment-what-you-should-know-0414

[4] National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/diabetes/more-info

[5] American Dental Association: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diabetes

Tehila-formal
Dr. Cohen has been practicing dentistry in private and public settings for over 10 years, completing her DMD degree in 2010 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Committed to providing dental care of the highest level, Dr. Cohen relocated to Rochester in 2016 to pursue advanced dental trainings at the Dental Urgent Care Fellowship at The University of Rochester, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, graduating in 2017, and the AEGD Residency program in 2019. She recently completed an additional advanced General Practice Residency program at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany NY. This summer she moved back to Rochester with her husband Kevin, a native Rochesterian, to be closer to family. Throughout her career and personal life, Dr. Cohen has shown her genuine compassion and care to people and patients from all walks of life. She volunteered in underserved areas, practiced in clinics for patients with complex special needs, and treated medically compromised patients among others. She also taught and mentored other dentists and students helping them achieve their professional and personal goals. Most of all, Dr. Cohen’s warm personality and love of people create a welcoming, comfortable feeling for both patients and staff.