November is National Diabetes Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and education about diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 million Americans have diabetes — that’s over 9 percent of the total U.S. population. Diabetes and oral health are intricately linked, which is why our New Jersey dental offices in Jackson, Eatontown and Pine Beach want to discuss how diabetes affects more than just your blood sugar. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body makes or uses insulin — a hormone that helps regulate sugar in your blood. When your body does not make enough, or any insulin, or does not use the insulin that is there, it can no longer use the sugar from your food to create energy, resulting in high blood sugar levels and related health problems.

How Does Diabetes Affect Oral Health?

Diabetes and oral health go hand in hand. If you have diabetes, it is important to regularly visit your dentist’s office to keep the following conditions under control:

Dry Mouth

Diabetes and certain medications associated with diabetes can decrease your saliva levels. Saliva is our body’s natural defense against tooth decay as it helps to wash away sugar and food particles, making those with less saliva more likely to experience cavities.

Gum Disease

Diabetes can reduce your body’s ability to ward off disease and fight infection. Gum disease is caused by bacteria underneath the gum line. Those with diabetes are more likely to get gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease that can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, causing teeth to loosen and fall out.

Infections like gum disease can cause your blood sugar to rise, making diabetes more difficult to control. So while controlling your diabetes and visiting your dentist regularly can help prevent gum disease, it can also help keep your diabetes more manageable.

Thrush

Those with diabetes are more likely to develop thrush, a yeast infection of the mouth. Practicing good oral hygiene and keeping your diabetes under control can help prevent thrush.

Visit Your Dentist For A Check-Up

Managing diabetes by visiting your doctor as well as your dentist regularly, can help make sure that complications related to diabetes are kept at bay.

If you have diabetes, be sure to disclose this to your dentist. Let our staff know if you are taking any medications or if your medications have changed. Additionally, if you have concerns about fasting before a procedure or not being able to eat after one, discuss this with your dentist. We will provide you with the oral health care you need without risking a dangerous swing in blood sugar levels.

With three convenient New Jersey dental offices (Century Dental in Jackson, Century Dental East in Pine Beach, and Seaview Dental in Eatontown), you have easy access to top dentists in the area. Schedule an appointment for an examination today!