Diabetes and Dental Health
We now know that diabetes and periodontal disease are closely tied. There is also evidence that having one makes the other worse. Unfortunately, as these two epidemics grow, we, as a health care provider, are very concerned.
It is believed that 60-70% of adults in the U.S. have some degree of periodontitis and about 89% of those are undiagnosed. Research also tells us that periodontal changes can be the first tell-tale sign that a patient has prediabetes or diabetes.
Valid evidence shows that diabetes promotes periodontitis through an exaggerated response to inflammation and, conversely, periodontitis is a risk factor for poor glycemic control. Regardless of which one precedes the other, both should be stabilized simultaneously.
A simple test known as HbA1c measures the blood sugar averaged out over 2-3 months. This is a finger poke test and recommended for anyone. Addressing the bidirectional effect of diabetes and periodontitis is critical in helping our patients gain control over both. Some signs someone is at risk for diabetes are: excessive thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, glaucoma, bleeding gums and tooth loss. Other risk factors may be obesity, a family history of diabetes and hypertension. Experiencing a combination of any of these risk factors would justify a HbA1c test.
Diet changes reducing sugar and processed flour, weight maintenance and more physical exercise are ways that can help reduce the chances of becoming diabetic. Regular dental cleanings and good homecare are the means to avoiding and/or controlling periodontal disease. Get your check-ups!
Lake Grove Dental
16455 Boones Ferry Rd.
Lake Oswego, OR 97035