Many people who have diabetes are unaware of it. What they also don’t know is that a routine dental exam can uncover the presence of this disease. Dentists play an important role in spotting undiagnosed diabetes and helping to manage the dental effects of the disease. Early detection is important because when left untreated, diabetes can lead to a number of serious health complications, including kidney disease, heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, blindness, and death.
How is diabetes related to oral health?
Diabetes is a risk factor for developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. That's because a diabetic's high blood sugar levels lead to greater levels of sugars and acids in the mouth. Diabetic people may experience more severe gum disease because diabetes lowers the body's ability to resist infection and slows healing. At the same time, gum disease can make diabetes more difficult to control. Gum disease is an infection that can make it harder to control blood sugar levels throughout the body. This puts diabetics at increased risk for diabetic complications.