To continue with our diabetes blog series, let’s take a look at signs and symptoms to be aware of that may indicate an oral health issue, which could be a warning sign of Type 2 diabetes. With the many resources now available to us to learn and self-help, we are able to take more personal responsibility for monitoring our health. Of course, with any general health or oral health concerns, you should always consult with your physician or dentist.
Oral Health Symptoms – What to Look For:
Most oral health complications begin with plaque, that sticky substance on your teeth that acts like a petri dish for bacteria. However, diabetes can also weaken your immune system and your mouth’s ability to fight off germs. Both scenarios can lead to gum disease (or periodontal disease), which can lead to other health issues and costly dental work. The American Diabetes Association advises you to be aware of the following signs:
- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss. This bleeding is not normal. Even if your gums don’t hurt, get them checked.
- Red, swollen, or tender gums.
- Gums that have pulled away from teeth. Part of the tooth’s root may show, or your teeth may look longer.
- Pus between the teeth and gums (when you press on the gums).
- Bad breath.
- Permanent teeth that are loose or moving away from each other.
- Changes in the way your teeth fit when you bite.
- Changes in the fit of partial dentures or bridges.1http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/warning-signs.html?referrer=http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/diabetes-and-oral-health.html
Additionally, if you have a family history of diabetes or oral health complications, it is important to be even more proactive and pay attention to even the slightest of symptoms. The sooner you identify a change, the sooner you can treat your condition and prevent other potential health problems. You’re probably already seeing your dentist on a regular basis, but if you’re not, please do so. The earlier you detect a problem, the greater chance of reversing or slowing down the progression. Plus, like DrTung’s, they’re prepared to coach you on better self-care to prevent more serious issues down the road.
Take the Oral Health Quiz
We found an excellent quiz from the American Diabetes Association to help you sharpen your knowledge on how diabetes can impact oral health. We invite you to take the quiz and share how you did on our Facebook page (don’t worry, you won’t be graded on it!). You might even win a special DrTung’s prize!
We hope this information broadens your understanding of what to be aware of when it comes to oral health symptoms and potential diabetes warning signs. Our next blog will focus on specific activities and tools for you to reduce your chances of diabetes through better oral hygiene and a more balanced lifestyle.