"Oral health symptoms of diabetics include dry mouth, periodontal (gum) disease, oral infections, cavities and delayed wound healing," says Robert E. Rada, DDS, MBA, co-author of the study.
When salivary glands do not work properly, dry mouth occurs, which leads to decay and other oral health problems. Diabetics can prevent dry mouth by increasing water intake, chewing sugarless gum and visiting a dentist regularly for personalized treatment options.
Also, diabetics have an increased risk for developing periodontal disease, a result from gingivitis. Bacteria in plaque can cause inflamed gums, which can destroy tissues surrounding the teeth, gum and bone.
"Most of the time periodontal disease is treatable. I suggest patients get their diabetes and diet under control and visit the dentist more frequently for proper cleanings," says Eric Shapira, DDS, MAGD, and AGD spokesperson.
Wound healing time is another major concern for diabetics because of elevated blood sugar levels. "Gum disease, sores-everything will heal slower for patients with diabetes. Dentists may prescribe antibiotics to speed up healing time if needed," says Dr. Rada.
Make morning appointments because blood glucose levels tend to be under better control at this time of day. Dental procedures should be as short and as stress free as possible.
Patients that have a scheduled appointment should eat and take medications as directed. In addition, it is best to follow a normal daily routine and stay relaxed to prevent a hypoglycemic
Contact: Jennifer Starkey
Academy of General Dentistry