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Oral health and diabetes—the important link

woman brushing teeth(ARA) – Did you know that people living with diabetes are twice as likely to develop serious gum disease?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is an increased prevalence of gum disease among those with diabetes, making proper oral health and hygiene a key factor to living well with diabetes. That is why dentists from around the nation want to educate the nearly 24 million Americans living with diabetes that serious gum disease may be an additional complication of diabetes.
People living with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.
“Overall, there is low awareness among the diabetes community about the association between oral health and the short and long-term implications it may have on a successful, comprehensive diabetes management plan,” says Dr. Maria Emanuel Ryan, a professor of oral biology and pathology at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y. “One of the many complications of diabetes is a greater risk for periodontal disease.”
Dr. Ryan recommends the following preventative oral health tips, in addition to regularly visiting the dentist:
* Floss at least once a day: Flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth and under your gum line.
* Brush as least twice a day and use an antibacterial toothpaste such as Colgate Total(R): Unlike regular toothpaste, Colgate Total toothpaste reduces germs that cause gingivitis, an early form of gum disease, by 90 percent versus regular fluoride toothpaste 12 hours after brushing. In addition, it is the only toothpaste approved (Colgate Total toothpaste is approved through the new drug application process for the prevention of gingivitis. It is not approved for the prevention or treatment of serious gum disease or other diseases.) by the FDA to help prevent gingivitis and the No. 1 toothpaste recommended most by dentists for gum care.
* Look for early signs of gum disease: Report any signs of gum disease – including redness, swelling and bleeding gums – to your dentist.
* Control your sugar levels: If your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled, you are more likely to develop serious gum disease than people with properly controlled blood glucose levels.
* Remind your dentist you have diabetes: Visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and ask your dentist about diabetes and oral health.
People living with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing serious gum disease, but with good oral health care, they should be able to help prevent gum disease from happening. For more information about diabetes and oral health, visit www.OralHealthAndDiabetes.com.

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