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Diabetes and Oral Health

March 27, 2014

Good oral health has benefits outside of your mouth.  It is commonly acknowledged that Diabetes is now considered to be the leading public health problem in all developed countries. In Ireland, 200,000 people have type 2 diabetes and a further 100,000 have high blood glucose levels and will only be diagnosed with diabetes when they present with a complication of diabetes.

Scarily, this figure is expected to double in the next ten years. (Gum disease can happen more often, be more severe, and take longer to heal if you have diabetes. In turn, having gum disease can make your blood glucose hard to control. Some studies show that treating your gum disease makes it easier to control your blood glucose. Gum disease is an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place it can lead to painful chewing difficulties and even tooth loss. It is estimated that 1 in 3 diabetics suffer from gum disease at some stage of their disease.

What can I do? Good blood glucose control is key to controlling and preventing mouth problems. This is the first and best line of defence against oral health problems for diabetics. People with poor blood glucose control get gum disease more often and more severely than people whose diabetes is well controlled.

Ensure that you are engaging in daily, effective tooth brushing and flossing, have regular dental check-ups and visit a hygienist for effective cleaning therapies.  Furthermore, if diabetes is not strictly managed, there may be higher than usual levels of glucose in the mouth fluids. This will in turn encourage the growth of gum disease-causing bacteria. And the good news is  that gum disease in a lot of cases is reversible with good oral hygiene habits and regular attendance at your dental clinic.

At Boyne Dental any of our dentists or our resident Hygienist are happy to take the time you need to understand your oral hygiene and how your diabetes can impact on it.


Sources:, Strategy of the Diabetes Federation of Ireland 2006-2010


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