Oral Health and Diabetes

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. Millions of diabetics battle gum disease, and caring for gum disease is an important part of overall diabetes management.

A routine oral exam could help identify health problems like diabetes. Once diagnosed, diabetics can seek much-needed treatment,” said Dr. Doyle Williams, Chief Dental Officer at DentaQuest. “The mouth can offer clear-cut signals that the disease is present.”

Recent research indicates that diabetes is associated with an abnormally high degree of gum inflammation and localized bleeding, and diabetics have a higher than normal risk for periodontal disease. Controlling sugar levels can help control diabetes. Treating periodontal disease and reducing bacteria in the body are also important in the overall management of diabetes.

Statistics from the American Diabetes Association indicate that 17 million people in the United States have diabetes and that more than five million of them are not aware that they have 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.

“It is important that people understand the connection between the condition of the mouth and the body’s processes, and the dentist’s role in detecting and treating the oral manifestations of diabetes,” said Dr. Williams. “We want people to know that routine trips to the dentist can lead to more than just a healthy smile. It can lead to early detection and management of a serious disease, like diabetes.”