Why a dentist should be part of your diabetic health team

While you are the key management person with your diabetes, you probably have a team of others on your case. You most likely have a primary health care provider, perhaps an endocrinologist, a podiatrist, a nutritionist-- but do you have a dentist? If not, you should.

Why Diabetes Puts Teeth at Risk

Diabetics are at increased risk for gum disease, especially when blood sugar is not completely under control. High sugar levels contribute to mouth bacteria, and mouth bacteria put you more at risk for periodontal disease.

Diabetes also weakens collagen, which is in your gums and connective tissue that holds your teeth in place.

Diminished salivation also puts your teeth at risk. Your frequent thirst from high blood sugar levels or even medications can result in tooth decay.

Because diabetics have difficulty healing, sores or fungal infections caused by dentures are a bigger concern.

What to Do

Aside from being on top of your own dental hygiene at home, you should see a dentist for check-ups at least twice a year. Preventative measures can save you a world of pain and trouble.

Talk to your dentist about diabetes and get his input for home mouth and tooth care.

If you need to have dental procedures done, discuss a plan with your dentist to watch for blood sugar fluctuations, and let him know as soon as you begin feeling the signs of high or low blood sugar.

Photo: CA Dental Group