When we were children, our parents always stressed on the importance of oral hygiene and took us for dental check-ups on a regular basis. However, over time, our priorities changed and we started to ignore the basic dental care that we deserve. This can not only have a harmful impact on our dental health but can affect our overall health also. This is because our dental health can be an indicator for several underlying diseases including dementia, heart problems, osteoporosis, diabetes and many more.
When it comes to diabetes, your dentist can play an important role in diagnosing the disease at an early stage. Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the way our bodies process blood sugar. Symptoms include weight loss, excessive thirst and frequent urination amongst others. However, it can also affect your dental health in various ways such as:
- Ulcers, sores, infections caused by a dry mouth
- Gum disease
- Loose teeth
- Tooth decay
Additionally, inflammation, abscesses and bone loss, can be primary signs of diabetes. Furthermore, gum disease that doesn’t respond to normal treatment or if the healing time is taking longer than usual, is a strong indicator of diabetes.
Your dentist may use the above warning signs to uncover diabetes while performing routine check-ups. Note that, diabetics have reduced abilities to fight bacterial infections which makes them highly prone to gum disease. Also, treating gum disease is vital to control the blood sugar in a diabetic patient. In case you have been diagnosed with gum disease which is not healing or taking a longer time to heal, your dentist may suspect early stage diabetes and recommend getting the required tests done immediately.
Once diagnosed with diabetes, your dentist can serve as a helpful medium and co-ordinate with your doctor by reporting the blood sugar levels evident from your existing dental condition. Also, routine dental check-ups and professional cleanings done by your dentist can go a long way in controlling gum disease and hence, diabetes. Your dentist may also ask you to go for dental tests occasionally or frequently depending on your dental condition.
There have been several cases wherein dentists have diagnosed diabetes and the patients were completely unaware about it. Only a dentist can examine your oral health and diagnose a disease based on the symptoms. Therefore, it is advisable that you start practicing oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly to help him/her detect and manage a disease like diabetes at an early stage.