Today is World Health Day. The World Health Organization is focusing on diabetes to ensure improved surveillance, enhanced prevention and more effective management of diabetes, which impacts nearly 30 million Americans. In important step in managing and slowing progression of diabetes is maintaining good oral health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal (gum) disease. Furthermore a study by the American Dental Association showed that one in five cases of total tooth loss was linked to diabetes. Poor blood sugar control puts people with diabetes at high risk for gum problems. In turn, it makes diabetes harder to control because of increased susceptibility to infections.
So, if you have diabetes, how can you avoid gum disease and prevent tooth loss?
Follow these five tips from the American Dental Association to keep a healthy smile:
- Control your blood sugar levels to help your body fight off any bacterial or fungal infections in your mouth and to help relieve dry mouth. Use your diabetes-related medications as directed, change to healthier diet and exercise regularly.
- Avoid smoking.
- If you wear any type of denture, clean it daily.
- Brush twice a day and floss daily.
- See your dentist for regular checkups and deep cleanings. Keep your dental health care team informed of any changes to your health.