NEW YORK — In support of National Diabetes Month, Colgate Total is donating $100,000 to help support Stop Diabetes, a movement launched by the American Diabetes Association to help educate and increase awareness of the link between oral health and diabetes.
Ninety-five percent of the 26 million people living with diabetes also have a form of gum disease. This is significant in comparison to the fact that only 50% of the general population has a form of gum disease, Colgate said. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop serious gum disease as people without diabetes.
“People living with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing periodontal disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection, and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums,” said Maria Emanuel Ryan, professor of oral biology and pathology at Stony Brook University. “Conversely, scientific evidence suggests that periodontal disease may play a serious role in the development and progression of diabetes by adversely affecting blood-glucose control. It is important that both patients and their healthcare providers be aware of the connection, monitor and take appropriate action to both prevent and treat periodontal disease.”
A misconception is that patients always experience pain if they have gum disease; this is not the case, and is especially important for diabetes patients to know and watch for the following signs and symptoms:
Bleeding gums when you brush or floss;
Red, swollen, puffy or sore gums;
Gums that have pulled away from your teeth;
Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite;
Pus that appears between your teeth and gums; and
Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
People living with diabetes and those who may be at risk should take an active role in their condition management to combat the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems by flossing, visiting the dentist regularly and brushing twice daily with antibacterial toothpaste specially formulated for gum health, the company said.