Diabetes and Oral Health

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The link between a healthy mouth and a healthy body is becoming an ever more deeply researched area -we know that links between the following and gum disease have been indicated

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Stress
  • Coronary atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes

The firmest piece of evidence  of links is around Diabetes both Type 1 & Type 2. We know that the link is bidirectional – bad gums exacerbates diabetic control and indeed poor diabetic control exacerbates gum disease. Some practices now carry out diabetic testing on their patients who show signs of non-typical gum disease, that is when the local factors of intensive professional cleaning coupled with good plaque control by patients does not lead to the expected response of reduced inflammation and disease

The other important area is that many of the UK population do not realise that they have gum disease or that they have diabetes. It is estimated by Diabetes UK that

3.9 million people are currently living with a diagnosis of diabetes, and 90% of those have type 2, often not insulin dependent.

In addition, there are almost a million more people living with type 2 diabetes who don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed yet, bringing the total number up to more than 4.8 million. These undiagnosed patients are the problem for us as dental professionals, if you have been diagnosed then we have the expertise here at Abbots Lodge & Ferring Dental Practices to help minimise your gum disease and by implication your blood glucose levels.

If you are one of the million people with undiagnosed diabetes, then again we are here to help you.

The first step we carry out for all of our patients is to check for gum disease, we would expect to measure the problem through examination of the mouth, gum disease measurements and probably x-rays investigation. We can then proceed to tackling that problem through hygiene visits and self care instruction.

If we do not get the expected response then we might proceed to establishing your blood glucose levels and whether you are diabetic, pre-diabetic or free from problems.

Rest assured that the teams here at Abbotts Lodge and Ferring are aware of and prepared for all of the challenges that the best dental teams might face.

Written by Professor Mike Mulcahy