Did you know that 90% of pre-diabetics are unaware of their condition and 25% of Type II diabetics are unaware they have the disease? Many patients see their dentist or dental hygienist more often than they see their primary care physician. This is particularly true for people with periodontal (gum) disease, who require more frequent dental hygiene visits or gum treatments. Your dentist or dental hygienist should take a thorough medical history at each visit. Some of the things they should look for which could indicate diabetes or prediabetes. Risk factors that indicate a potential for diabetes or pre-diabetes include:
- Overweight or obese – BMI greater than 25
- High blood pressure
- Familial history of diabetes
- High cholesterol
- History of heart disease
- Other symptoms or complaints may include thirst, urinating frequently, constant fatigue, weight loss (Type 1), blurred vision, and uncontrolled infections even within the mouth (poorly controlled Type 2 diabetics).
There are also dental clues that may indicate diabetes.
- A patient that has 26% of periodontal pockets measuring 5 millimeters or more or 4 or more missing teeth (not including wisdom teeth), has a high chance of having a metabolic problem – and diabetes is a metabolic problem.
- Periodontal disease
- Dental caries
- Burning mouth syndrome
- Oral candidiasis (common in those with poor glycemic control)
- Salivary problems or dry mouth
- Neurosensory disorders
- Soft tissue abnormalities such as stomatitis or lichen planus
- Dry mouth
A chairside diabetes HbA1c (Hemoglobin A1c) test may soon be able to be performed in our practice, or if you have had a recent test with your doctor showing a result of 5.7 or greater indicates a 92% chance the patient is metabolically challenged. At this point, the patient should be referred to their physician.
If you are concerned about your oral health or are experiencing symptoms in your mouth or health that could be related to diabetes, contact us today 727-586-2681.