November is the National Diabetes Awareness Month and the Oral Health Coalition of Florida’s Public Health Institute and the Palm Beach County Health Department warn both dental professionals and patients about the health risks that might be brought about by very poor oral health.
Oral health and overall health are strongly linked even if for decades these two topics have been considered as being very separate.
Type II diabetes is actually strongly linked with persistent periodontal disease, and patients but dentists as well need to take very seriously these “connections” between oral health and overall health.
Therefore, Dr. Phil Bilger who is the dental director at Palm Beach County Health Department suggests that patients who respond very weakly at treatments for periodontal disease, should be sent for a thorough health checkup to a doctor and run diabetes tests.
Other chronic dental conditions which may be indicators of Type II diabetes include:
-the burning mouth syndrome- the patient consistently feels as if his mouth is on fire, no matter how much water he/she drinks. Patients might also experience an extremely bitter/metallic taste in the mouth.
-the apparition of thrush- this is the whitish/yellowish substance that can be found most commonly on the tongue, but also on the gums or roof of the mouth.
Thrush is actually fungus which appears as a natural process, but the body cannot control it so this will stay visible on the mouth tissues.
-the dry mouth syndrome- or xerostomia in medical terms. When your body can’t produce enough saliva, the dry mouth syndrome sets in. This frustrating condition is caused by elevated levels of glucose in saliva, and diabetic patients do have higher levels of glucose within their saliva. Managing diabetes is about managing the glucose levels within the blood, so a specialized checkup is important if the symptom is persistent.
Even though diabetes and the dental complications are actually separate health conditions they are strongly linked. There is a sort of a vicious circle formed, because patients with diabetes heal very difficulty from periodontal disease, while patients with periodontal disease control quite difficultly their blood glucose levels.
Prevention is extremely important, so always talk openly to your dentist about these symptoms especially if they have appeared recently and you do not know of suffering with any diabetic condition.