Diabetes and its link to oral health

We are all very aware that the health of our mouth affects the health of our entire body. The correlation between poor oral health and blood pressure problems, heart disease and even some cancers is well documented. Dr. Vicki Fidler is passionate about helping her patients achieve and maintain the best oral health possible, thereby helping them maintain the best over all health possible.

There is one health subject that is very near to her heart, as it is one she personally deals with on a daily basis. That subject is Diabetes.

There are 3 well documented types of Diabetes, as well as several newly understood variations of each disease. All have similar and equally important affects on your oral health.

The 3 main types of diabetes are:

Although each form of the disease has different treatment needs and underlying causes, if untreated they all result in high blood sugars and put you at greater risk for oral issues.

Here is an interesting fact:

High blood sugars can lead to gum disease, and gum disease can cause high blood sugars, which can lead to gum disease, which can cause….see how this works? If you have diabetes, you cannot afford to ignore your oral health!

Dr. Fidler’s own experience with diabetes started with her first pregnancy. She was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, and had it for each of her following pregnancies as well. About 10 years ago, her blood sugars once again begin to rise. This time she was diagnosed with a form of Type 1 Diabetes, Latent Autoimmune Diabetes. Her body no longer makes sufficient insulin for her to live, and she has been using insulin injections to control her blood sugars for the past decade.

In her line of work as a Seattle dentist, she regularly sees the negative impact poor management of diabetes can have on oral health. And transversely, she sees the impact poor oral health can have on the management of diabetes. The most common affects she sees are bleeding gums and cavities, particularly at the gum line.

Dr. Vicki Fidler wants to share a POSITIVE MESSAGE with all who deal with diabetes:

You do not have to suffer from oral health problems just because you have diabetes!

Like all aspects in dealing with diabetes, it does take good care and effort to be successful. With a little extra time and energy and having a dentist that is an active part of your health care team, you can not only keep your mouth healthy, you can avoid the complications of poor oral health on your diabetes management.

What do you need to do?

Here are a few guidelines to make sure your dental care is on track:

  • Brush and floss daily.
  • Make sure your dentist is aware of the fact that you have diabetes, as well as any medications you are taking for it.
  • Get regular dental check ups, and address any issues that come up quickly.
  • Keep your diabetes doctor aware of any oral conditions you are dealing with, so they can help monitor your medications and blood sugars while they are getting under control.
  • Call your dentist immediately if you notice any swelling or bleeding in your gums so a situation can be addressed before it becomes serious.

All forms of diabetes can be very challenging. Having a good health care team is a key factor in being successful. Your dentist is a key member of that team! By keeping on top of your oral health, you protect not only your smile, but your whole body.

We wish you good health, and beautiful smiles.

References:

Diabetes Info – Everything You Need to Know About Diabetes

International Diabetes Association – Diabetes and Oral Health Problems

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