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Spread the word: It’s National Diabetes Month

What do you know about diabetes? Whether you know a lot or a little, an opportunity to learn and share information about the prevalent malady is at hand, as November is National Diabetes Month.

Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin. Diabetes can lead to many major health problems, including some in the mouth.

According to the American Dental Association, diabetes can be associated with the development of oral fungal infections and periodontitis—or gum disease—which is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. Periodontitis is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

Good oral hygiene habits, including professional cleanings at the dental office, are important to control the progression of gum disease and other oral health problems, the ADA says. Regular dental checkups and periodontal screenings are important for evaluating overall dental health and for treating dental problems in their initial stages.

The American Diabetes Association says, “25.8 million Americans have diabetes—8.3 percent of the U.S. population. Of these, 7 million do not know they have the disease.” Aside from problems in the mouth, diabetes increases a person’s risk for complications involving the heart, kidneys eyes, feet, skin, ears and more.

The ADA has more information about diabetes and oral health at Select A-Z topics and choose “D” to find the listing for diabetes.

Additional sources of information on diabetes are the American Diabetes Association ( and the National Diabetes Education Program, a partnership between the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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