Good oral health can improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, decreasing the progression of the disease. But untreated gum disease can make it more difficult to manage diabetes, and may have a heightened adverse impact on the overall health of people living with diabetes. Consistent dental care is essential for people living with diabetes, but many Americans struggle to fit dentist visits into their budgets.
DentalPlans.com, a leading online marketplace for dental savings plans in the U.S. and part of the Henry Schein One portfolio of solutions, is committed to helping Americans access affordable dental care, as well as raising awareness of the many ways in which oral health impacts overall health.
This month, during American Diabetes Month, the company is focused on supporting the 34.2 million Americans – just over 1 in 10 – who have diabetes, and the 8 million American adults – approximately 1 in 3 – who have prediabetes, through information and affordable dental care options, such as dental insurance and dental savings plans.
How diabetes impacts oral health
People with diabetes have a higher risk for both gingivitis (early-stage gum disease) and periodontitis (advanced gum disease). That’s because a person with diabetes will typically have a more severe inflammatory response to bacteria, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Bacterial plaque accumulating on teeth and gums is the main culprit behind gum disease. The body’s immune system fights infection with an inflammatory response, a normal defense mechanism intended to isolate bacteria and rid it from the body. But a strong inflammatory response can harm the tissues it’s supposed to protect, resulting in tooth decay and gum disease.
Diabetes may also cause dry mouth, which raises the risk of cavities since salvia removes decay-causing debris from teeth and gums.
Diabetes and dental care
The delayed wound healing associated with diabetes can make it more difficult to recuperate from treatments for oral disease, so it’s best to stay on top of oral care with a good at-home hygiene routine and regular dental checkups and cleanings.
Dentists and dental hygienists can develop an oral health plan for people with diabetes, focused on keeping bacterial plaque in check and addressing any infections early on – when they can be more easily controlled.
“Having access to affordable, consistent dental care has an enormous positive impact on a person’s overall health, especially those who are at a higher risk for dental issues, such as those managing diabetes,” said Jenn Stoll, Chief Commercial Officer at DentalPlans.com. “Our company is fully committed to helping people get the dental care they need in order to support their health and happiness.”
Diabetes, dental insurance, and dental savings plans
Dental insurance and dental savings plans can help people access the consistent dental care that is essential to maintaining good health.
Dental insurance typically offers deep discounts on preventive care, such as cleanings and x-rays, and can be a great option for those who need to maintain already excellent dental health. Dental savings plansprovide discounts of 10-60% on most dental services, and – with no annual spending limit and immediate access to dental discounts – can be an exceptionally good choice for those whose dental expenses exceed $1,000 per year, or who need expensive dental care immediately. Many dental savings plans also include additional wellness savings such as discounts on prescriptions, teleheath, vision and hearing care, and even fitness services.