It's important for your dentist to know if you have diabetes, and how you're controlling it. Good control of your diabetes affects your oral health as well as your overall health.
Diabetics tend to be less resistant to infection than non-diabetics, have more fragile bones, and take longer to heal after an operation.
An oral infection can make diabetes worse, which makes the infection worse, which makes the diabetes worse - and so on into a major medical problem.
Diabetics develop severe gum disease more often, too, especially over the age of 40. Once gum inflammation - gingivitis - sets in, it can erupt into periodontal disease or even infection in the jaw. In undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetics, this could mean tooth loss.
Practice preventive dentistry and follow the medication, diet, and meal schedules recommended by your physician. This, with balanced rest and exercise, will bolster your resistance to disease, including oral infections and cavities.
If you're taking insulin injections, you may want to schedule appointments around your medication times. The stress of an examination or procedure can change the way your body uses insulin. Your dentist will want to be prepared to help you in case you have a reaction. And let him or her know if you are taking any other medications. Drug interactions can be serious.
You may want to have your gums examined (and have a dental cleaning) by a dental hygienist more often than twice a year - just to make sure nothing suspicious gets started.
And on the home front, good dental hygiene - controlling plaque, the invisible bacterial film that undermines teeth - is crucial. Home care rules to live by: brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. The more, the better.