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Fight Gum Disease to Help Manage Diabetes

October 15, 2010

Scott H.

I recently met with the Director of the American Diabetes Association from Denver and a representative from their national office in Alexandria, Virginia. We wanted to talk with them about diabetes and dental health.

I left the meeting with a new appreciation for the epidemic called diabetes. It's not that I was unaware that diabetes is an issue in American society – a friend of mine has a son with diabetes and my father-in-law is missing a couple of toes because of it. But I had no idea of the scope of the problem. 24 million people in the U.S. have diabetes,[i] and it's expected that in the future 1 in 3 people will develop the disease.[ii]

The conversation made me think about why people who are battling diabetes would be worried about their dental health, teeth, and gums, when they risk losing their limbs or eyesight. Here's what I learned:

  • A person with diabetes is twice as likely to develop gum or periodontal disease
  • Diabetics who develop severe gum disease are more likely to have trouble regulating their glucose levels, resulting in a higher risk of death

I also know that adding a Waterpik® Water Flosser to everyday dental hygiene is proven to reduce gingivitis and periodontal disease in patients with diabetes. Because gingivitis is the beginning of more serious gum disease, the Water Flosser can help stop it before it starts and help those with diabetes stay healthier.

If you or someone you know has diabetes, has it affected the teeth or gums? What steps are you taking to help prevent gum disease?

Other blog posts about diabetes and gum disease

Additional articles of interest

Mayo Clinic article about diabetes and gum disease Diabetes and dental care: Guide to a healthy mouth

[i] Press Release: Estimates of Diagnosed Diabetes Now Available for all US Counties. June 24, 2008; Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2008/r080624.htm

[ii] Diabetes Successes and Opportunities for Population-based Prevention and Control: At a Glance 2010: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.