Diabetes and your oral health: A vital connection

by | Apr 25, 2024 | Health and Wellness

Did you know that your oral health can affect your diabetes, and vice versa? In Canada, one in three people has diabetes or prediabetes, making it critical to understand this mouth-body connection.

Diabetes is a disease that prevents the body from effectively using or producing insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. When we talk about diabetes and oral health, there are concerns about all four types: prediabetes, type 1 (usually found in childhood), type 2 (common in adults) and gestational (during pregnancy). The signs and symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, slow-healing sores and frequent infections.

For those with diabetes, regular appointments with your dental hygienist are vital. Poorly controlled diabetes raises your risk of gum disease, dry mouth, oral thrush and a burning sensation in the mouth or on the tongue. Gum disease can also make diabetes harder to manage. At home, be sure to monitor and control your blood glucose, brush twice daily, follow a healthy diet, quit smoking and use sugar-free gum or mints.

Tips for your dental hygiene appointments:

  • Inform your dental hygienist about your diabetes.
  • Schedule appointments when glucose levels are highest.
  • Know your glycated hemoglobin level (HbA1c).
  • Bring a list of medications and mention the timing of insulin or meals.
  • Report any changes in denture fit, gum pain or sores.

Dental hygienists can identify signs of diabetes and will work with you to help you achieve and maintain optimal oral health. By managing both diabetes and oral care, you can enhance your overall health and well-being.

Find more information at dentalhygienecanada.ca/diabetes

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