Diabete’s and Dental Care: Guide to a healthy mouth’ by Dr. Catherine Wynne from the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital
The UAE’s National Diabetes and Lifestyle Survey found that diabetes was prevalent in more than 19 percent of the country’s population – a staggering statistic.

Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.

Diabetes can harm your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body. Most people aren’t aware however, that the high blood sugar levels can take a toll on a person’s oral health, making dental care especially crucial for people living with diabetes.

Research has proven that people with diabetes are prone to deterioration of their oral health if they do not receive proper dental care. Problems such as gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease which causes inflammation and bleeding gums, and periodontitis, disease which causes loosening of the teeth, are more common among diabetic patients because the disease lowers a persons immune system and slows healing.

Additionally, research suggests that the relationship between diabetes and gum disease is in fact two-way. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but also as with all infections serious gum disease may cause a person’s blood sugar levels to rise. Preventing and treating periodontitis can help improve blood sugar level control.

Good blood glucose control is key to controlling and preventing mouth problems. People with poor blood glucose control get gum disease more often and more severely than people whose diabetes is well controlled. Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups and good blood glucose management are the best defense against the oral complications of diabetes.

Dental Health Advice for Diabetic Patients:

Control your blood sugar levels.

The better you control your blood sugar level, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis and other dental problems beneficial in keeping your healthy smile as well as potentially slowing the progression of diabetes. Nearly 75% of diabetes patients in the UAE do not have their diabetes under control, a challenge particularly pronounced among children and young ad adults.

To lower high blood sugar you must:

  • Take your diabetes-related medications as prescribed
  • Eat healthy food
  • Exercise regularly
  • Test your blood sugar levels frequently

Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the risk of serious diabetes complications, including gum disease. If you smoke, ask your doctor about options to help you quit.

Clean your dental appliances. If you wear any type of aligners, removable braces, mouth splints, dentures etc. remove them and clean them carefully each day.

Brush your teeth twice a day and floss correctly daily.

Work with your dentist. Tell your dentist that you have diabetes and what medicines you take. Let him or her know if your blood sugar level is off-track, and if you take insulin, tell when you took your most recent dose.

Report any signs and symptoms, such as bleeding or swollen gums, dry mouth, loose teeth or mouth pain.