When it comes to diabetes and dental health matters, people with diabetes face a higher-than-average risk of developing gum disease and tooth loss. A recent study found that those with chronic gum disease had a 26% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Gum disease can also increase blood sugar levels, causing complications for people with diabetes.
Gum disease damages the bones that hold teeth in place. It causes gums to pull away from the teeth and form pockets between teeth and gums that can fill with germs and lead to infection. Because people with diabetes are less able to fight infections, blood sugar may rise and bone loss may progress quickly.
According to the American Dental Association, poor blood sugar control increases your risk of developing other oral issues:
In addition to controlling your blood sugar level through medication and diet, regular dental visits help prevent gum disease. Practicing good oral hygiene also lowers your HbA1c (the lab test that shows your average level of blood sugar and how well you’re controlling your diabetes), so it’s important to:
Teamwork between you and your dentist will help keep you and your smile healthy. In addition to controlling your blood sugar level with medication, a healthy diet, and exercise, these steps can help:
If you live with diabetes or other serious health conditions, our Oral Health for Total HealthSM program’s preventive dental services can help improve your oral and overall health.
These valuable services are available to enrolled members at no extra cost when visiting a participating dentist. Program benefits include two extra cleanings or preventive visits per year (a total of four).
If you have health and dental plans from HMSA and have been diagnosed with diabetes, you’re automatically enrolled. If you don’t have a health plan with HMSA, you can easily enroll online.
Once enrolled, all you need to do is make an appointment with a participating dentist. You can find a dentist in your plan’s network at hmsadental.com/find-a-dentist.
Check our provider directory to see if your dentist is in-network, or find a participating provider.
Have a qualifying medical condition? Enroll to receive enhanced dental benefits that promote your overall health.