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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Diabetes affects a staggering 25 million Americans, which is about 9% of the population in the United States. Diabetes can cause problems with your eyes, your nerves, your kidneys, your heart and increase your risk for oral health problems, like gum disease. Some oral health problems associated with diabetes are tooth decay, periodontal disease, decreased saliva, fungal infections, dull sense of taste and infection & delayed healing time. When diabetes is not properly controlled, the increased glucose levels in the saliva make an ideal environment for bacteria to flourish. This decay causing plaque can harden into tartar if not removed properly and promptly. All of this is detrimental to your gingival health because it allows plaque to increase and build up, which makes it hard to clean well between teeth. The longer plaque and tartar remain on the teeth, the more harmful they become. Because diabetes reduces the body's ability to resist infection this can lead to chronic inflammation and periodontal disease. If you notice signs or symptoms of oral disease, be sure to contact Dr. Bertolini immediately. These would include changes like bleeding, tender gums, persistent bad breath, loose teeth, changes in how your teeth fit together or bite together. How to Lower the Risk to Your Teeth: Be certain to brush twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste & floss daily, to remove decay-causing plaque. We recommend having your healthy teeth and gums professionally cleaned every six months and if there are already gum problems, we may recommend having them cleaned every three to four months. During your regular checkups Dr. Bertolini and his team will do a periodontal screening to evaluate your overall oral health. Let Dr. Bertolini know if you've been diagnosed with diabetes, if the disease is under control, other changes in your health history and all prescriptions and OTC drugs you take. Together we can help you keep your smile working beautifully!