Archive for November, 2014
We’ve been aware for quite some time that if you have diabetes you are at a greater risk for gum diseases such as periodontal disease (an infection of the bone and structures that keep your teeth in place), and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).
In case there was any doubt about the link between the health of your mouth and your overall health, new studies are suggesting that the connection between oral health and diabetes are not one sided, that they in fact affect each other.
What does gum disease have to do with diabetes?
Gum diseases are infections and like any other infection in the body diabetics have a more difficult time healing from these. People with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely than those without diabetes to have periodontal disease, especially if the diabetes is not well managed.
If your diabetes is uncontrolled it may lead to more frequent and more severe infections in the mouth compared to those whose diabetes is well controlled. For many diabetics more frequent professional cleanings help keep gum diseases under control.
Often the earliest sign of diabetes is active gum disease that does not improve with professional cleaning and strict oral hygiene at home!
But wait, there’s more!
More recent research suggests that the correlation between gum disease and diabetes is a two way street. Gum disease can be a factor in causing blood sugar to rise making diabetes harder to control. Having an active infection such as gum disease is never healthy, but it puts diabetics at risk for diabetic complications.
How will I know if I have gum disease?
There are some symptoms of gum disease that you can be on the lookout for such as:
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Loose teeth
- Presence of pus
- Persistent bad breath
Even in the absence of these symptoms, though, there may be gum disease present; the only way to know for sure is to see your Dental Hygienist for a thorough examination where she (or he) will discuss the condition of your mouth.
How do I treat gum disease?
The treatment of your gum disease will depend on the severity of the disease, your diabetic condition, tolerance to treatment, compliance with home care etc.
Following an assessment your Dental Hygienist will develop a plan that will help you achieve optimal oral health. A variety of techniques may be recommended, such as professional cleanings, lasers, or specialist referrals. A review of your current home care practices and guidance regarding how to improve and maximize the results should also be discussed.
Remember, what your Dental Hygienist does in the office with you is only half the battle, what you do at home between visits is imperative for treating gum disease and maintaining a healthy mouth. Your home regime should always include brushing at least 2 times a day, flossing and using an antiseptic mouth rinse. There are other tools available that your Dental Hygienist may suggest as well, be sure to talk to her (or him) about what may be helpful for you to try.
What else should I be aware of?
Periodontal disease and gingivitis are not the only oral problems that diabetics are at risk for. Here are a few other issues that may arise:
- Oral infections on tissue such as the tongue, cheek or roof of the mouth
- Fungal infections such as Thrush
- Poor healing after dental surgeries
- Dry mouth
What can I do to prevent gum disease?
Prevention is, and always will be, the best investment you can make for yourself. Preventing gum diseases is not a one-time thing; instead it requires a comprehensive approach that should include:
- A good home care regime
- Professional dental cleanings at an interval determined by a thorough dental hygiene exam
- Keeping diabetes managed through medication or diet
There is strong evidence that proper diabetes control will help protect against many oral health problems including gum diseases. Be sure to talk to your Dental Hygienist about steps you can take to move towards a healthier mouth….the rest of your body will thank you for it!
Want to know if you have or are at risk for Gum Disease?
Book an appointment with our Dental Hygienist for an examination and professional cleaning. Appointments can me made online HERE or by calling the office at 416-799-8344.
If you are fortunate to work for a company that offers you some dental insurance, don’t let it go to waste. There are many people that don’t have this benefit; in fact about 40% of Ontarians are without any dental insurance.
With all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it is easy to postpone your dental hygiene appointment to the New Year, however, if your insurance renews with the calendar year you may be missing an opportunity.
How does dental insurance work?
The way most dental insurance benefits work is that you are provided a certain dollar amount of insurance each year. If you do not use those benefits you lose them! (Unused amounts do not carry over to the next year). Many people do not realize this and let hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars worth of dental insurance go back into the insurance company’s bank account. While our treatment recommendations are never dictated by insurance, if you have any treatment that remains to be completed, or you have any oral hygiene concerns at all, it would be very useful for you to come in before the end of the year.
At the Dental Hygiene Group, our goal is to help you enjoy a bright healthy smile! That means that you look good, you feel good, you have strong teeth and gums, and you enjoy the benefits of a healthy, attractive smile for a lifetime. Maximizing your eligible dental insurance can also help you with this.
If you would like to make an appointment, just give us a call and we will find a time that is convenient for you, or you can book directly online.
Just remember that when you ring in the new year on December 31st, you will lose any unused dental insurance. We are happy to help you get the full benefits that you are entitled to under your dental insurance policy.