November is National Diabetes Month and focuses on making healthy changes and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Approximately, 30 million people in the United States are living with diabetes, almost 2 million new cases are diagnosed each year, and about 8 million people living with diabetes don’t know they have it. So, what does diabetes have to do with your teeth? It’s essential to understand the relationship between diabetes and your healthy smile.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is too high, which acts as your body’s main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin helps that glucose travel from the food into your cells, but sometimes your body doesn’t make enough insulin, and the glucose stays in your blood causing health issues.
Diabetes and Your Oral Health
If left untreated, diabetes can have a negative affect on your mouth. Here’s how:
- You’re susceptible to infections inside of your mouth
- You’ll experience prolonged wound healing
- You may experience bleeding gums
- You’ll experience decreased saliva, causing dry mouth
- Because of decreased saliva, you’re at a higher risk of cavities
How to Observe National Diabetes Month
Diabetes has no cure but there are steps to take to manage your diabetes and stay healthy. To observe National Diabetes Month, here’s what you can do:
- Get a physical and ask questions. Regular checkups are good to know where we stand and what changes need to be made.
- Make one to two small changes recommended by your doctor. When we make smaller changes, we are more likely to stick by them.
- Keep track of your goals by writing them down. Our goals are more likely to fail when we hold them in our thoughts than write them out.
- Don’t do this alone. Whether a partner or best friend, it’s best to make lifestyle changes together then by yourself.
For more information, visit the American Diabetes Association.