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diabetes Archives - Smile, Little Smiles, and Smile Orthodontics

Diabetes & Gum Disease – A Two Way Street

By | Health & Wellness

Diabetes, which kills more people annually than breast cancer and AIDS, can weaken your mouth’s ability to fight germs, increase blood sugar levels, and can make gum disease more severe and harder to control. When diabetes is poorly controlled, high glucose levels in mouth fluids may help germs grow and set the stage for gum disease. These “bugs” sit below the gum line and act as termites, eating away at your bone. But tooth loss is not the only consequence of gum disease. New research has shown this link to diabetes as well as heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and even increased risk for problems related to pregnancy.

The relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

Smoking increases the risk for gum disease.  If you are a smoker with diabetes, age 45 or older, you are 20 times more likely than a person without these risk factors to get severe gum disease, bone loss and tooth loss.

Imagine life without gum disease.  Without gum disease, you can live longer, increase the quality of life, keep your natural teeth, taste food better, prevent other oral diseases, infections and cavities, and have increased salivary function.  Other symptoms such as poor wound healing, pain in the tongue and burning mouth can also be decreased by controlling gum disease.

Proper dental treatment and maintaining your healthy teeth and gums makes living life free of gum disease easy!

Use good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth after each meal and floss daily. Using a tongue scraper will also help to rid bacteria. To help prevent or control gum disease, begin a self care program today.

See your dentist regularly. How often you see your dentist depends on couple of factors: severity of periodontal (gum) disease, the rate at which plaque and tarter build up and how well you care for your teeth and gums at home. The Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health states that good oral health is integral to general health.

Control your blood sugar. Maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar will help control diabetes as well as helping your body fight off infections and may even lessen the severity of periodontal disease. Follow your physicians dietary and medication instructions and let your health care provider know if you are having problems controlling your blood sugar.

90% of All Systemic Diseases Show up in the Mouth

By | Health & Wellness

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, research shows that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases (diseases involving many organs or the whole body) have oral manifestations, including swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and excessive gum problems. Such diseases include:

If people have regular oral examinations, their dentist may be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem in its early stages.

Read the full article here.

Good Oral Care Lowers Diabetes Costs

By | Health & Wellness

It’s no secret that time in a dentist’s chair can help save medical dollars.  But according to a 2009 University of Michigan study, there could be a 10 to 40 percent medical savings for individuals with diabetes and other chronic health conditions.  The study was the largest known of its kind to examine the link between dental care and diabetes.

Results further indicated that gum disease negatively impacts diabetes.  Treating gum disease and infection may improve control of high levels of sugars in the blood.  Individuals with gum infections may be more likely to develop diabetes, and those with diabetes have a greater chance of having diabetes complications.

At a minimum, physicians and dentists should be aware of these links, share this knowledge with patients, and communicate between medical professionals.

The U-M research also found that people who received regular dental care:

  •  Lowered diabetes-related medical costs more than 10 percent per year
  • More than 20 percent lower annual medical costs for treatment related to heart disease in patients with both diabetes and heart disease
  • More than 30 percent lower annual medical costs for kidney disease treatment for patients with diabetes and kidney disease
  • 40 percent lower medical care costs for treatment related to congestive heart failure.

Given the statistics suggesting 80 percent of all Americans have some form of gum disease and over 50 percent of current teenagers are expected to have diabetes by age 30, this research is very important.  Not only does it speak to quality of life, but also the cost of care for diabetics.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, I highly recommend you visit your family dentist.

Got Bloody Gums?

By | Health & Wellness

If your gums bleed when you brush normal?  What if it only happens sometimes?

Bleeding gums “sometimes” is tricky.  If “sometimes” means you poked your gums with your toothbrush or on a potato chip earlier in the day, then yes, “sometimes” is normal.  But if “sometimes” means a couple times of week or more, then absolutely no!

OK, this isn’t as fun to talk about as sparkly white teeth, but it’s time to sound the alarm on one of the most common diseases around. Its GUM DISEASE and 75% of Americans have some stage of it.

Most people think that it’s normal when gums bleed. Well it’s not! If you washed your hands and they started to bleed, wouldn’t you get a little worried? If your scalp bled when you brushed your hair, would you call your doctor?  Of course you would, yet most people don’t get worried about bleeding gums because no one is telling them it is serious gum disease that could be deadly!!

Did you know that inflammation like you find in gum disease causes a better indicator of future heart attack and stroke than cholesterol?  And there’s more. Did you know that dentists play a role in identifying the 5 million Americans with undiagnosed diabetes? This is because diabetics are more susceptible to gum disease and reversely a patient with diabetes must keep their gum health pristine to increase their chances of survival. Gum disease inflammation has also been linked to the risk of developing Alzheimer ’s disease and for women delivering preterm low-weight babies.

The news about gum disease and its connection to our overall health continues to come up again and again in research and medicine. It’s time to get deadly serious about the disease. It is now standard for physicians to send their stroke and heart risk patients straight to the dentist to get their gum disease under control as their first line of defense.

Are you ready for the good news? Family dentists today now take the time to screen their patients for gum disease annually.  It is quick, painless and free.  Even better? Systems and technology are available to get gum disease under control 98% of the time without specialist surgery.

Got bloody gums?  Talk to your dental team today.