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Diabetes : The Common Oral Health Problem

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Diabetes affects nearly 30 million Americans each year. Diabetes is a disease that can cause problems with the eyes, nerves, kidneys, and heart. Oral health problems associated with diabetes are lesser known, but equally important. Diabetics who do not have good control over their blood sugar levels tend to have more oral health problems. The most common oral health problem associated with diabetics is gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation usually caused by the presence of bacteria in plaque. This inflammation can cause the destruction of the tissues that support your teeth, gums, bones, and fibers that surround the teeth. Other oral health problems that can come about are: tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, salivary gland dysfunction, fungal infections, lichen planus and lichenoid reactions (inflammatory skin disease), infection/delayed healing, and taste impairment. It is important to keep medical records up to date and inform the dentist if the disease is under control. They also need to be aware of any changes in the medical history and the names of all prescriptions and over the counter medications taken. Regular dental check-ups are advised for every patient, but even more so for diabetics. When diabetes is not controlled properly, high glucose levels in the saliva can cause bacteria to flourish. To help remove decay causing plaque, patients should brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean in between the teeth with floss or an
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