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The Pentino Dental Blog

National Diabetes Awareness Month: Diabetes and Oral Health

I would like to start my first blog post discussing a relevant topic for the month of November.  This month has been designated as National Diabetes Awareness Month, so I hope to provide a little insight into a disease, that according to the Centers of Disease Control now affect 26 million Americans.
While there are many forms of diabetes the most common types are; type 1 (85-90% of cases), type 2 (5%), and gestational or pregnancy diabetes.  Diabetes is the result of a deficiency, or lack of, the hormone insulin to properly transport glucose (blood sugar) to the cells throughout the body.  When the insulin actions are hindered the organs thoughout your body can not process glucose resulting in many complications that can affect your quality of life.

Now, where diabetes is most relevant to dentistry is that their is a relationship between diabetics and periodontal (gum) disease.  Conditions that diabetic patients will most likely suffer orally are; gum and bone loss, oral yeast infections, dry mouth, reduced salivary flow, increase in cavities, dental abscesses, tooth loss, and  slow wound healing.

Also, studies have revealed that a healthy person who develops chronic periodontal infections increases their chances of developing diabetes; concurrently, people with diabetes that develop periodontal disease can see an increase in blood sugar which can exacerbate other complications.  Additionally, if one would increase periodontal health and decrease gum infections it could result in their blood sugar becoming more controlled.

For many years people there has been widespread belief that the condition of ones oral health has no relation to the overall well being, but as more and more research is done we can continually see that your mouth can be a widow to visualize someones internal health issues.  So if you or someone you know has diabetes make sure you stay healthy by monitoring your glucose closely, have good dietary habits, exercise often, take your insulin on a regular basis (if applicable), and keep those teeth and gums healthy by seeing your physician and dentist regularly.

American Diabetes Month 2011
For more information on symptoms of diabetes you can visit.
www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/symptoms

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