Type 2 diabetes is often symptom‐free in its early stages, and people may remain undiagnosed for many years. This can put people at risk of developing serious long-term complications. One complication of diabetes that many people do not know about is severe periodontitis (very inflamed gums). This affects 11% of adults worldwide. Milder forms of periodontitis are extremely common as well, affecting 50% of adults and up to 60% of people over 65 years of age. The link between type 2 diabetes and severe periodontitis is an important “red flag.” There is also evidence that blood sugar levels directly impact dental health. This is because high blood sugar levels can cause tooth decay and loss of teeth. It is also proven that, for people with diagnosed diabetes, caring for your teeth can help improve blood sugar control. Researchers from the United Kingdom have found that dentists can play a key role in identifying people who may have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. As a result, it is important for dentists to look for diabetes among their patients. If you have a family history of diabetes and have dental problems, you should consider whether diabetes could be playing a role.
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