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Diabetes and Oral Health – A Two-Way Street

Posted on: November 5th, 2014 by The DC Dentist

If you, a friend or a family member have diabetes, you may have heard that this common disease increases a person’s risk of gum disease and other oral health problems. But did you know that this relationship is a mutually distressing one? Not only does diabetes make gum disease worse, but gum disease can actually make diabetes worse too by interfering with blood-glucose management strategies.

Here, we shine some light on the relationship between diabetes and oral health, and what you can do about it.

Diabetes makes it difficult for the body to fight infection. Whether the infection is located in the mouth, the leg or any other part of the body, poor circulation suppresses the immune system, making it harder for the body’s natural infection fighting responders to do their job. This means that if you have diabetes, you are more prone to gum disease, and other oral health problems too such as thrush and dry mouth.

On the flip-side, gum disease can also make diabetes worse. Whenever the body is fighting illness or an infection (such as a cold or the flu or even gum disease), blood sugar spikes are harder to control with regular methods and thus extra monitoring and control-measures are required.

Are you wondering what you can do to minimize this damage? First and foremost, keep your blood sugar under control using the methods that your physician has prescribed. Next, practice good oral health maintenance with regular brushing and flossing. And finally, don’t skip regular trips to the dentist and other oral health professionals. If you have diabetes, you cannot afford to ignore this important part of your body.

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