Brushing your teeth can help prevent other diseases

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 4:30 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2021 at 5:36 PM CST
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SOUTHEAST Mo. (KFVS) - Teeth cleaning is something dentists recommend folks do twice a day.

However, for those with pre-existing health conditions like diabetes, Cape Girardeau dentist Dominique Harter said you may want to up your cleaning habits.

“It’s at home, making sure that you are brushing at least twice a day,” Dr. Harter said. “Honestly, if you could brush after every meal, that would be great. And then also flossing at least twice a day, and making sure that you’re eating a healthier diet, again, is overall going to just help improve your diabetes in general.”

According to the CDC, 10.3 percent of people in Missouri have diabetes and 11.3 percent in Illinois.

According to a new study from Delta Dental, people with diabetes are more likely to develop dental issues than those without it.

In November, Delta Dental is highlighting the impacts oral health has on diabetes, noting the most common issue is gum disease.

Dr. Harter echoed that.

“The biggest risk is gum disease,” Dr. Harter said. “Obviously, if left untreated, it starts with gingivitis, which is just inflammation of the gums and with diabetic, reduced the ability to control those infections, it then goes on to periodontal disease, which is bone loss and then, obviously, you’re gonna see mobility and pain as well.”

According to Delta Dental, those with diabetes can take steps toward a healthier lifestyle: maintain a balanced, low-sugar diet; drink plenty of water; brush multiple times a day and remember to floss and visit the dentist regularly.

Dr. Harter said doing all of these can make managing diabetes a bit easier.

“If you can get your gum tissues healthy, controlling your blood sugar is obviously a little bit easier,” Harter said.

He said for anyone, but especially those with underlying medical conditions, be mindful of how other diseases can affect your body.

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