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Did you know that diabetes affects nearly 10% of the nation’s population? That number more than doubles if you consider people who are pre-diabetic. And while diabetes primarily affects a person’s ability to deal with glucose in the blood, it can also impact other systems of the body, including sight, weight management, and nerves. Its effects can also be seen in the mouth.

One common oral health concern people with diabetes have is dry mouth. Dry mouth is more than just a little uncomfortable. It can accelerate the advent of tooth decay and gum disease. Reduced saliva allows food particles to cling to teeth longer. And bacteria in the mouth that cause disease and decay tend to thrive in a drier environment.

Gum disease can be particularly problematic for people with diabetes. Because they often have greater difficulty fighting infection, gum disease can spread faster than it might normally. Gum disease also doesn’t cause pain initially, so people with diabetes need to be particularly vigilant about changes in their mouths. Gum disease, if left untreated, eventually causes the destruction of mouth tissue and tooth loss. This may sound a little dramatic, but 1 out of every 5 total tooth losses is linked to diabetes.

The good news is that effective care of your oral health can prevent tooth decay and gum disease. It is also important to come in for a professional cleaning and exam by Dr. Michael Doty every 6 months. If you would like to learn more about how to improve your oral hygiene routine or schedule an appointment here at Michael D. Doty, DDS, please call our office right here in Abingdon, VA, today!