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Diabetes: It's Connection to Oral Health
Date:6/24/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 24 million people have diabetes. Of that number, unfortunately, 5.7 million people are unaware that they have the disease. Diabetes can affect multiple parts of the body, including the kidneys, nerves, heart and even the mouth.

Because diabetics are more prone to several oral health problems, including tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, salivary gland dysfunction and infection, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) reminds diabetic patients of the importance of maintaining optimal dental health.

It is important to let your dentist know if you suffer from diabetes and if the disease is under control.

"At each dental visit tell your dentist about the status of your diabetes," said Dr. Bruce Terry, a PDA member and endodontist from Wayne. "Let the dentist know your most recent glycosylated hemoglobin (HgA1C) level to determine how well your diabetes is controlled. A good value should be under 7 percent. Inform your dentist of any recent hypo or hyperglycemic episodes. Uncontrolled diabetics are at higher risk for complications from local anesthetics (lidocaine) as well as complications with oral surgery and even simple tooth cleanings. If you take insulin, tell your dentist when you normally take insulin and when your last dose was taken."

Diabetic patients are at greater risk for tooth decay due to the presence of higher bacteria levels found in saliva when diabetes is not under control. As diabetes can lower resistance to infection, periodontal disease can develop.

Brushing twice a day and flossing daily will help remove plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that causes tooth decay and periodontal disease. Using fluoride toothpaste and an antibacterial mouthrinse is another way to help fight tooth decay.

It is imperative to visit the dentist at l
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Dental Association
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