Diabetes and Your Mouth; American Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month to raise awareness of diabetes symptoms, promote healthy living and ensure people are aware of risk factors. Among the US population 10.5% (34.2 million people!) have diabetes, with approximately 1 in 4 not aware of having the disease.

What is Diabetes?

When we eat or drink carbohydrates, they are broken down to glucose and released into our blood. For the glucose to be able to enter our cells and fuel our bodies, a hormone called insulin, made by our pancreas, is needed. However, with type 1 diabetes, no insulin is produced. With type 2 diabetes, not enough insulin is produced and/or it doesn’t work effectively. In both cases, because glucose can’t get into your cells, it builds up in your blood. Common symptoms may include urinating often, feeling very thirsty or hungry, extreme fatigue, blurry vision or delayed wound healing.

Risk factors for diabetes

  • Smoking
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol (non-HDL) and/or high triglycerides
  • Had diabetes during pregnancy
  • Have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Familia history of diabetes related to parent, brother, or sister
  • Are Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
  • Are 45 or older

The link between your mouth and diabetes

Did you know that the health of your mouth has a bidirectional relationship with diabetes? This means that if you have an elevated blood sugar level you are likely to have a propensity towards periodontal disease, and if you have periodontal disease this can directly relate to increased blood sugar levels. Those who undergo periodontal treatment and practice effective oral hygiene daily have decreased blood sugar levels for several months. It is important to practice daily plaque removal by brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth once a day. Come back next week to learn more about periodontal disease!

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