American Diabetes Wholesale recently had the chance to speak with Janis Roszler MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N about the direct link between good oral healthcare and diabetes. Roszler offers several tips that can benefit a person with diabetes, many of them being simple changes in oral healthcare routines that can make dramatic changes in how your body fights bacteria.

  1. People don’t often link diabetes and oral healthcare to each other but studies suggest that proper oral care can ensure better overall health. How so?
    • Proper oral care can help people with diabetes reduce their risk of developing a variety of different dental problems, including gum disease, fungal infections, ulcers, and cavities. Serious gum disease can make diabetes more challenging to control and may also contribute to its progression.
  2. And as it relates to diabetes, that means it is even more important to maintain proper oral health, correct?
    • Yes, definitely! People with diabetes have a reduced ability to fight the bacteria that causes gum disease. This puts them at a higher risk for oral problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis. When these develop, individuals with diabetes may have a harder time controlling their blood glucose level. Poor diabetes control puts individuals at risk for a number of complications, including heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
  3. Is the reverse true – can strong oral health have a positive effect on diabetes?
    • Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/NAbsolutely! A clean, healthy mouth can help people meet their diabetes goals. They will have an easier time maintaining good glucose control, which can help them feel energized as they go through their day. They won’t have oral pain that could interfere with their ability to stick to their meal plan, participate in regular physical activity, or enjoy a good night’s sleep. Eating right and staying active helps regulate blood glucose levels, improves circulation, reduces stress, and can help individuals lose weight, if needed. Poor oral health can cause a person to avoid social situations. Research shows that social support enhances a person’s ability to live more comfortably with diabetes, so having a healthy mouth can give people the confidence they need to interact with others.
  4. If you had to suggest 1 very easy task that someone with diabetes can do on a daily basis that is related to dental hygiene what would it be?
    • I would go for the quick, 30-second rinse, twice a day. Brushing only cleans 25% of your mouth. An effective germ-killing mouthwash, such as Listerine, can clean the remaining 75%.
  5. For those that wanted to take their dental care to the next level, how can that be accomplished?
    • They should do what I call the “Big 4” – brush, floss, rinse and see their dentist regularly.
  6. For kids with diabetes, do they reap the same benefits from taking care of their teeth in the same manner that adults do?
    • They sure do! Like adults, children can develop oral problems that make their diabetes more challenging to control. It is extremely important to introduce good oral care practices to young children so they become part of their daily routine.
  7. People with diabetes are used to routine processes as it relates to managing their diabetes. What is the ideal routine that a diabetic should adopt to give themselves the best chance at optimum oral health?
    • The good news is that good oral care doesn’t add a considerable amount of time to anyone’s day. People with diabetes should brush their teeth twice a day, rinse with a quality mouthwash for 30 seconds after they brush, and floss once a day. My husband and I turned flossing into a fun bedtime ritual. Before bed, the first one who finishes brushing lays out floss for both of us. It isn’t as expensive as flowers and is awfully nice!
  8. The recommended cycle of dental examinations is one exam every six months. Should someone with diabetes remain on that kind of schedule as well or are more frequent visits necessary?
    • According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes should have a dental checkup at least every six months. The exact number of times they should go should be determined by their dental professional.

ADW Diabetes

ADW Diabetes is a diabetic supply mail order company that is dedicated to keeping diabetes management affordable. ADW takes a leading role in offering free diabetic education through Destination Diabetes, an informational component of the ADW website featuring tips and advice from diabetes and nutrition experts, diabetic recipes and more.