Diabetes is a devastating disease that can cause serious damage to the mouth, teeth and gums for those individuals who also suffer from periodontal disease.
As a dentist, and as someone who is certified to treat people with diabetes, I focus on making sure that periodontal disease is not present in patients who visit my office. Periodontal disease can play havoc in the mouth, affecting teeth and glycemic control.
Anyone who is told they are a diabetic should visit their dentist immediately.
This is an exam that could possibly save your life.
People with diabetes are prone to suffer from numerous types of periodontal disease. Dry mouth is one of them. Dry mouth can destroy teeth by spreading decay and eventually contributing to the loss of those teeth. Diabetes may also lead to a fungal infection known as Candida. Candida is “cottage cheese” looking lesions that surface all over the palate or tongue. Candida is mostly seen in patients with compromised immune systems. When periodontal disease is not controlled, diabetics run the risk of a lowered resistance to infections throughout the entire body and increased levels of sugar in their blood. Some of the symptoms that offer clues to whether a diabetic has teeth or gum problem include:
- Your gums bleed when you brush them
- Gums are red, swollen or sensitive
- Receding gums
- Pus coming out of gums
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Dry mouth
Unfortunately, some stages of gum disease (periodontal disease) do not cause pain, even though there could be destruction of tissue and teeth taking place.
The best remedy is to see a dentist.
Article Courtesey of Maritza Dominquez, DMD, FGD. Maritz represents the New Jersey Dental Association. She practices at Brunswick Dental Associates, Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick.
Individuals can receive a free dental exam between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, at North Brunswick High School. The screenings are part of “Diabetes: From Head to Toe,” the American Diabetes Association’s annual educational conference, which will be held in partnership with Saint Peter’s Healthcare System as part of National Diabetes Awareness Month, which occurs every November.
“Diabetes: From Head to Toe” is a component of the ADA’s “Por Tu Famila” (For Your Family) Program. Por Tu Famila is the Hispanic/Latino health-promotion and disease- prevention program of the ADA. Go to www.diabetes.org/njconference for more information about “Diabetes: From Head to Toe” and how you can participate.