Category Archives: Alexandria Dentist

Diabetes and Your Smile

 

Blood sugar monitor for someone with diabetes

By Laura Martin, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine

Did you know that 29.1 million people living in the United States have diabetes? That’s 9.3% of the population. Approximately 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed each year—and 8.1 million people living with diabetes don’t even know they have it.

Diabetes affects your body’s ability to process sugar. All food you eat is turned to sugar and used for energy. In Type I diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, a hormone that carries sugar from your blood to the cells that need it for energy. In Type II diabetes, the body stops responding to insulin. Both cases result in high blood sugar levels, which can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body.

So what does this have to do with that smile of yours — and how can you protect it? First, it’s important to understand the signs of diabetes and the roles they play in your mouth.

The Symptoms of Untreated Diabetes

The warning signs of diabetes affect every part of your body. After a blood test, you may be told by a doctor that you have high blood sugar. You may feel excessively thirsty or have to urinate a lot. Weight loss and fatigue are other common symptoms. Diabetes can also cause you to lose consciousness if your blood sugar falls too low.

If diabetes is left untreated, it can take a toll on your mouth as well. Here’s how:

  • You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry. (Dry mouth is also caused by certain medications.)
  • Because saliva protects your teeth, you’re also at a higher risk of cavities.
  • Gums may become inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis).
  • You may have problems tasting food.
  • You may experience delayed wound healing.
  • You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth.
  • For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical.

Why People with Diabetes Are More Prone to Gum Disease

All people have more tiny bacteria living in their mouth now than there are people on this planet. If they make their home in your gums, you can end up with periodontal disease. This chronic, inflammatory disease can destroy your gums, all the tissues holding your teeth and even your bones.

Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22% of those diagnosed. Especially with increasing age, poor blood sugar control increases the risk for gum problems.  In fact, people with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems because of poor blood sugar control. As with all infections, serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise. This makes diabetes harder to control because you are more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.

How Your Dentist Can Help You Fight Diabetes

Regular dental visits are important. Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, decreasing the progression of the disease. Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by your dentist can help to lower your HbA1c. (This is a lab test that shows your average level of blood sugar over the previous three months. It indicates how well you are controlling your diabetes.)

Your Diabetes Dental Health Action Plan

Teamwork involving self-care and professional care from your dentist will be beneficial in keeping your healthy smile as well as potentially slowing progression of diabetes. Here are five oral health-related things you can do to for optimal wellness:

Download this helpful infographic to learn more:

 

This article is reposted from the ADA

2016 Patient Appreciation Party

May 5th was our 2nd Annual Patient Appreciation Party.  This evening is for our patients, a way of saying thank you for your continued support and referrals to our office.  This year we offered our patients mini-massages from Dr. Ginger Lowe and  health assessments from Ellen Reilly of Sport and Health.   Our patients were treated to catering from Bittersweet Café and fabulous wine.  Door prizes include a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card, $150.00 Bottle of Italian Wine and a $600 In-Office Whitening, each guest also left with a SWAG full of goodies to include a pocket mirror, emergency cell phone charger, a full size tube of Flouridex Toothpaste ,event only saving coupons, and a coupon for Duchess M Boutique.  We had so much fun and we look forward to next year’s  event!

Here are a few photos from the evening!

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Whoops, I got off track….

Busy Woman

The kids summer camps, your nephew’s wedding, the roof that was leaking…it happens to us all at one point and time, too many things going on and we skip dental visits.  Now is the perfect time to get back on track with your dental visits!

People who stay on track with their cleanings are more likely to have less work that needs to be done and small cavities are detected before they get too large.

What happens when you miss cleanings?

Tartar develops at the gumline of your teeth and builds up until it is professionally cleaned.

Usually everyone should be seen every 3 to 6 months depending on how many restorations they have or how fast they build tartar.

If either are a concern, then you are more than likely a candidate for a 3 month cleaning.

What do you do in the mean time to keep teeth clean?

The best toothbrush on the market right now is a Sonicare toothbrush.  This electric toothbrush rotates in ways that a manual toothbrush can not and gets under the gums at angles that we usually can not.  We carry Sonicare in our office and we would love to show you how great it is at your next visit!

Flossing is extremely important in between cleanings as well.

So yes, we all get busy, but it’s never too late to get back on track!  Call us now to schedule your next cleaning!

And the winner is…..

We were so excited to present Betty S. with her fabulous gift for referring her family and friends to our practice  Betty will get dinner at the Inn at Little Washington as well as a nights stay at The Middleton Inn.

As always we appreciate your referrals of family and friends as we grow our practice.  We love sharing our passion for great service and continued dental health for all!  Be on the look out for our next program starting in June…you won’t want to miss it!

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