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3150 North Elm Street, Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408

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November 7, 2014

Dentists Diagnosing Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and a recent article in Health Day News reported that dentists "are uniquely placed to identify patients with diabetes, and those with diabetes who are at risks for complications." Studies have shown that more people visit a dentist than a medical doctor which means that dentists have greater exposure to patients at risk for diabetes.

Diabetes is the result of a deficiency, or lack of the hormone insulin to properly transport blood sugar (glucose) to the cells throughout the body. People that have diabetes know the disease can harm the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and other bodily functions. Most don't realize that it can also cause problems in the mouth. People with diabetes are at more risk to develop periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the bone and gums supporting the teeth which can lead to painful chewing, mobile teeth, and tooth loss. Periodontal disease may also have the potential to adversely affect blood glucose control and contribute to the advancement of the diabetes.

While dentists may not check an A1C or blood sugar level, signs and symptoms of active periodontal disease may prompt them to refer a patient to their medical physician to check for an undiagnosed diabetic condition. Diabetics can protect their teeth and gums from the effects of diabetes with regular dental check-ups and cleanings as well as with diligent oral hygiene at home. Keeping the gums healthy will in turn help prevent advancement of the diabetic condition.

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3150 North Elm Street
Suite 210
Greensboro, NC 27408
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