On November 14, Canadian dental hygienists will join more than 1 billion people worldwide in marking World Diabetes Day. As primary health care providers, dental hygienists are key members of the diabetes health care team.
According to Diabetes Canada, more than 11 million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. These individuals are particularly susceptible to oral health problems, such as dry mouth (which can cause soreness, ulcers, and tooth decay) and gum disease (gingivitis). Gingivitis, like all infections, can cause blood glucose levels to rise and make diabetes harder to control. Moreover, if left untreated, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis, which is now a recognized risk factor for stroke, lung disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
The good news is that periodontal disease can be prevented and controlled, especially if caught early. As Sophia Baltzis, president of the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA), explains, “Dental hygienists check for early signs of gingivitis and periodontitis during regular dental hygiene visits and will work with you to develop an oral care plan to achieve and maintain good oral and overall health.” Dental hygienists are also able to identify potential signs of diabetes in clients who have not yet been diagnosed with the illness. “All Canadians should visit their dental hygienist regularly for professional oral care,” Baltzis adds. By reducing inflammation in the mouth, individuals with diabetes are better able to regulate their blood glucose levels, thereby reducing their risk of potentially life-threatening complications from this serious disease. For better oral and overall health, schedule your dental hygiene appointment today.
About the CDHA
Serving the profession since 1963, CDHA is the collective national voice of more than 28,495 registered dental hygienists working in Canada, directly representing 19,000 individual members including dental hygienists and students. Dental hygiene is the 6th largest registered health profession in Canada with professionals working in a variety of settings, including independent dental hygiene practice, with people of all ages, addressing issues related to oral health. For more information on oral health, visit: www.dentalhygienecanada.ca.