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Dental Care and Diabetes

Dental Care Tips for People With Diabetes

Since people with diabetes are more prone to conditions that may harm their oral health, it's essential to follow good dental care practices and to pay special attention to any changes in your oral health and to seek a prompt dental consultation if such changes occur. Here are some tips to consider.

  • Keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible.
  • At each dental care visit, tell your dentist about the status of your diabetes. For instance, he or she may want to know your HgA1C level to determine how well controlled your diabetes is (good control is indicated by a level under 7%). If you've had a hypoglycemic episode in the past (low blood sugar, also called an insulin reaction), you are at increased risk to have another one. Tell your dentist when your last episode was, how frequently such episodes occur, and when you took your last dose of insulin, if you take it.
  • See your diabetes doctor before scheduling treatment for periodontal disease. Ask your doctor to talk to your dentist or periodontist about your overall medical condition before any dental treatment is performed. If oral surgery is planned, your doctor or dentist will tell you if you need to take any presurgical antibiotics or need to change your meal schedule or the timing and dosage of your insulin, if you take it.
  • Make sure to give your dentist your diabetes doctor's name and phone number to include on your personal file. This information will then be readily accessible by your dentist should any questions or concerns arise.
  • Bring your dentist a list of all the names and dosages of all medications you are taking. Your dentist will need to know this information to prescribe medications least likely to interfere with the medications you are already taking if medications are needed. If a major infection is being treated, your insulin dose -- for those taking insulin -- may need to be adjusted. Check with your doctor.
  • Keep in mind that healing may take longer in people with diabetes. Follow your dentist's post-treatment instructions closely.
  • People with diabetes with orthodontic appliances (such as braces) should contact their orthodontist immediately if a wire or bracket results in a cut to their tongue or mouth.

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