Oral Health Guidance Improves Diabetic Care

July 10, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

If you have diabetes, you likely know the many triggers that can make your diabetes symptoms worse. That’s why it’s important to closely monitor your blood sugar and be seen regularly by your doctor, especially if you are experiencing symptoms that are worse than normal.

One complication of diabetes that is well-known is periodontitis. Periodontitis is advanced gum disease that occurs when plaque and bacteria cause inflammation in the gums. Periodontitis itself is dangerous enough. It can cause oral health problems like gum loss and tooth loss, not to mention inflammation that can affect the entire body. This inflammation is worse in persons with diabetes. Periodontitis is not only considered a complication of diabetes, people with diabetes are more likely to suffer from periodontitis and from other oral health conditions, including yeast infection thrush, and dry mouth.

A recent study aimed to tackle instances of periodontitis in older patients with diabetes. The study took place at the department of periodontology at the University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit in the Netherlands. In it, researchers chose 764 patients, most of whom completed a 14 part checklist called an Oral Health Impact Profile. Among those 764 participants, 543 people completed most of the checklist. The checklist contained counseling items that stressed the importance of oral health care for patients with diabetes.

After a follow-up, many patients reported an improvement in their oral health or no decline in their oral health over the previous year following their counseling. This shows that intervention, on the part of the physician as well as on the part of dentists, is an effective way to help patients understand the importance of oral health care, especially in patients with diabetes.

So, what can we take away from this study? What is proper care for oral health with diabetes? The good news is that it’s nothing fancy- nothing different from regular oral health care. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing at least once per day, preferably at bedtime, as well as visiting Dr. Mingus twice a year to keep an eye on your teeth and gums.

Remember, oral health is important for your entire body – for anyone’s entire body- but it is especially important in patients with diabetes. For questions about managing your oral health with diabetes, contact Dr. Mingus or your physician today.