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Millions of Americans live with diabetes, which impacts both overall health and oral health. If you’re living with diabetes, knowing how it can impact oral health and what you can do about it will help you better protect your teeth and gums.
People with diabetes are at an increased risk of gum disease. In fact, about a third of people with diabetes have a severe form of gum disease. Unfortunately, gum disease can also worsen diabetes, as it makes blood sugar levels harder to control. Gum disease can increase your risk of tooth loss.
However, you can take steps to lessen your risk of developing gum disease, or to help control gum disease if you already have it.
Cutting back on sugars and starches will help control your diabetes and benefit your oral health. Sugary foods help create an environment in your mouth that encourages the growth of the bacteria that cause gum disease. Choosing a healthy, balanced diet will make it harder for these bacteria to grow, and help keep your diabetes in check.
If you’re not already brushing twice a day and flossing at least once daily, get serious about practicing good oral health habits. Brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash all help remove plaque and the harmful bacteria that cause gum disease.
If you have diabetes, consider going to the dentist even more than the generally-recommended twice a year. Dental cleanings are one of your best defenses against gum disease, which is why many TruAssure plans offer three cleanings a year.
Diabetics who receive additional dental cleanings are often healthier and better able to control their blood glucose levels. A one-point reduction in blood glucose levels can lower the risk of complications affecting the eyes, kidneys and nervous system by as much as 40 percent. In addition, a one-point reduction lowers the risk of a heart attack by 14 percent and reduces the number of deaths caused by diabetes by 21 percent.
Let your dentist know that you have diabetes and any medications you may be taking so they can best address your needs.
Anyone who smokes raises their risk for gum disease, but the impact is particularly strong for people with diabetes. You can lower your risk by quitting smoking. Even if you already have gum disease, quitting tobacco can improve your response to gum disease treatment.
Do you have friends or loved ones with diabetes? Share this post on social media to spread the word about the importance of proper oral health care.
Need a dentist near home, work or your kids' school? With one of the largest networks in the country, we make it easy to find a dentist who fits your location and your schedule.
*All TruAssure dental plans, other than Basic and Preferred dental plans, are offered in association with the DenteMax Plus dental network arrangement, which includes participating dentists from the United Concordia, DenteMax and Connection dental networks in all states but North Carolina, where the DenteMax Plus network arrangement includes DenteMax and Connection dental networks. TruAssure Basic and Preferred dental plans are offered in association with the DenteMax dental network.
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