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Link Between Gum Disease and Diabetes

diabetes With this week (13 – 19 July) being Diabetes Week, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) is highlighting evidence there is a two-way relationship between gum disease and diabetes.

Chair of the ADA Oral Health Committee, Dr Peter Alldritt, said: “Poorly controlled diabetes increases the severity of gum disease while advanced gum disease makes control of blood sugar levels more difficult. On a positive note, people with well-controlled blood sugar levels have the same risk of gum disease as people without diabetes.”

It is important patients with diabetes inform their dentist, and outline the names of all prescribed and over-the-counter tablets and medicines being taken.

People with diabetes in particular have more severe gum disease and higher levels of root surface tooth decay than non-diabetics.  As well as being more prone to infections, diabetics can suffer from poor wound healing.  By taking the following steps everyone can keep their gums and teeth healthy:

Have a diet low in sugar

  • Brush teeth using a soft toothbrush with a pea-size amount of fluoride  toothpaste twice a day
  • Floss or clean between teeth each day (toothpicks are not recommended)
  • Use a mouthwash if recommended by your dentist
  • Drink fluoridated tap water
  • Have your teeth and gums checked and cleaned by a dentist once or twice a year (unless they recommend otherwise)
  • Avoid smoking

Dr Alldritt continued: “Diabetes Week is timely as it gives us the chance to tell mums, dads, uncles, aunts, grandparents and children to start looking for the Sugar Bandits in their family as part of the ADA’s Dental Health Week (DHW) later on in August.”

DHW will commence from August 4 – 10 and will be focused on babies and toddlers’ oral health. DHW aims to educate the public about the dangers of providing sugary treats to children in excess, as well as the hidden dangers of sugary foods that are marketed as being healthy.

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Alana Lowes

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