Diabetes is a disease that affects approximately 13 percent of Americans. The illness changes how your body transfers food into energy and can cause issues throughout the body, including with the feet, eyes, and even the teeth and gums.
That’s because, believe it or not, diabetics have an increased risk of periodontal disease, and having periodontal disease can make it more difficult to manage diabetes. This is because periodontal disease can affect blood sugar levels, something which diabetic patients struggle with already.
This is why experts recommend that patients attend regular oral health screenings as well as regular eye exams. These medical visits can help raise red flags for possible cases of diabetes, even if the patient is unaware they could be affected by the illness or is not showing any of the aforementioned signs.
In addition to periodontal disease, diabetes can cause a long list of oral health problems, including dry mouth, burning mouth syndrome, cavities, problems tasting food, and oral infections. These can lead to worse problems, including tooth loss and gum tissue loss, which can also lead to bone loss in the jaw.
It can also cause problems with vision, including damage to the blood vessels in your retina, so regular eye exams are recommended as well.
If you already know you have diabetes or suspect that you might, there are ways to lower your risk of tooth and gum related issues that may occur due to diabetes. In addition to regular dental cleanings, these include brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time and flossing at least once a day. Please note that if you are diagnosed with diabetes, you may be required to undergo more-frequent oral health exams and cleanings to keep your teeth and gums safe from damage.
Symptoms of diabetes may include unexplained weight loss, dry mouth, increased thirst, increased hunger, sores that won’t heal, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, and irritability. If you have any of these symptoms, speak to your doctor about being screened for diabetes. If you notice any changes in your gums, such as bleeding, sensitivity, redness, puffiness, or gum recession, please contact Dr. Abelar’s office to schedule an exam.