Diabetes and Oral Health: Your Dentist Sees More Than Your Teeth

The Ontario Dental Association recognizes November as Diabetes Awareness Month and the connection between oral and overall health

TORONTO, Nov. 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Did you know there is a connection between diabetes and oral health? Research shows that poorly managed blood glucose (sugar) levels put you at greater risk for developing oral health problems such as gum disease, fungal infections, tooth decay, taste impairment, dry mouth and delayed healing. Conversely, having periodontal (gum) disease can intensify the complications associated with diabetes.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) and dentists across the province will be supporting the Canadian Diabetes Association's "Don't Be Risky" campaign which urges Canadians to identify the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

"Diabetes can be associated with an increased prevalence and severity of periodontal diseases, and as an infectious and inflammatory disease, periodontitis can affect the control of blood sugar," says Dr. Gerald Smith, President of the ODA. "When blood sugars remain high over time it can put people with diabetes at risk for further complications."

The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), estimates that today more than 1.4 million people in Ontario are living with diabetes, representing 9.8 percent of the population. By 2024, that number is estimated to rise to 2.2 million. "Knowing the risk factors for diabetes and its complications will provide Canadians with information to act and potentially lower their risk, in consultation with their health-care teams, including their dentist," says Rick Blickstead, President and CEO of the CDA.

Dentists have the training and expertise to help prevent and treat any oral health problems associated with this serious disease. Through oral examinations, dentists can also detect certain oral-health conditions that could signal a need for you to be tested for diabetes. If you are experiencing any problems with your oral health, such as bleeding gums, impaired taste or dry mouth, see your dentist immediately. To help prevent gum disease and tooth decay, the ODA recommends following a routine which includes brushing your teeth, flossing, using a toothpaste containing fluoride, consuming sugar in moderation and having regular dental exams.

"Diabetes is one of many medical conditions that prove the connection between your oral health and your overall health," says Dr. Smith. "Your dentist can be a vital part of your health-care team by helping you manage the oral complications that may come with having diabetes."

Your oral health is related to your overall health. Stay in touch with your dentist to assist you with your oral health needs. For information on your oral health and diabetes, go to youroralhealth.ca. For more information on diabetes, visit diabetes.ca or alternatively you can visit DontBeRisky.ca and fill out a CANRISK questionnaire to find out what your risk is of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

SOURCE: Ontario Dental Association

For further information: and to interview Dr. Gerald Smith, ODA President, contact: Janiece Walsh, ODA Public Affairs, Telephone: 416-355-2215, Email: media@oda.ca; For more information about the 'Don't Be Risky' campaign or to arrange an interview, contact: Pilar Iglesias, Manager, Communication, Canadian Diabetes Association, Telephone: 416-408-7114, Email: pilar.iglesias@diabetes.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.oda.on.ca

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Ontario Dental Association

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Canadian Diabetes Association

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