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DENTAL TIP OF THE MONTH
November 2008


Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!

National Diabetic Month    Back  

Warning Signs of Diabetes: All In Your Head?

"Above the Neck" Signs May Help Identify Those at Risk

 Approximately 17 million Americans have diabetes and according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), one-third of them are unaware they have the disease. This November, during National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) want to educate consumers, especially those unaware they are at risk, that common warning signs of diabetes could be all in their head-literally. Bad breath, bleeding gums, blurred vision and many other oral or optic ailments can be early indicators of diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body can no longer produce or use insulin properly. Insulin helps convert certain foods into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. Without insulin injections, individuals with diabetes can have a build-up of sugars in their blood.

There are three major types of the diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Ninety to 95 percent of people with diabetes suffer from Type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of the disease is rising in the United States as the population ages and more Americans become obese.

Diabetes and the Mouth: What's the Link?
Researchers believe diabetes often manifests itself in the mouth, making the dentist a key player in diagnosis. Because of high glucose levels, people with diabetes are more likely to have problems with their teeth or gums since increased glucose levels can help bacteria thrive. The increased bacteria combined with a diabetic's inability to resist infection can lead to gum disease.

Oral symptoms related to diabetes include:

bulletChronic bad breath or bad taste in mouth
bulletGingivitis-Sore, swollen and red gums that bleed when you brush
bulletPeriodontitis-gums pulling away from teeth
bulletSore or loose teeth

People with diabetes need to take extra care with their teeth since they are more susceptible to oral infections and periodontal disease than those who do not have the disease. Dentists recommend:

bulletbrushing at least twice a day 
bulletgetting a new toothbrush at least every three months to cut down on bacteria in the mouth
bulletflossing daily will help keep gums healthy and prevent gingivitis.
bulletvisit the dentist every six months 
bulletschedule visits in accordance with insulin injections or meal times.
11/06 Academy of General Dentistry

Oral Complications of Diabetes

Diabetes Alert

If you have diabetes, you are at a very high risk for heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is more likely to strike you and at an earlier age.  But you can take control and lower your risk with this new treatment  "Get to Know Your A, B, C approach:
  1. A if for A1C Test -- measures your average blood glucose over the last 3 months--less than 7 percent. Check at least twice a year
  2. B is for Blood pressure -- below 130/80. Check at every dentist/doctor visit.
  3. C is for Cholesterol (LDL) -- below 100.  Check at least once a year."*

Take Action Now:

bulletGet physically active every day.
bulletStay at a healthy weight.
bulletStop smoking.
bulletEat less fat and salt and more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans.
bulletSee you dentist at least every 3-4 months for gum tissue exams.  Diabetics have a higher incident of gum disease.

When you visit your dentist:

bulletTell your dentist you have diabetes. Share any problems with infections or trouble keeping your blood sugar levels under control.
bulletEat before you go to see your dentist. The best time for dental work is when your blood sugar level is in a normal range and your diabetes medicine action is low. If you take insulin, a morning visit after a normal breakfast is best.
bulletTake your usual medicines before your dentist visit.
bulletStick to your normal meal plan after dental work. If you can't chew well, plan how to get the calories you need. You may need to use your sick-day meal plan that uses more soft or liquid foods.
bulletWait to have dental surgery until your blood sugar is in good control.

*American Diabetes Association Education Program, National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 11/01

Mouth Cancer Awareness Week 12-18th November
British Oral Cancer Site
Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Random Acts of Kindness Week (Nov 05 - 11) - Celebrated in February and November

Family Week (Nov 19 - 25) Always on Thanksgiving

The Great American Smokeout :

Help Tobacco Users Quit

Identify and assess tobacco use among your patients, using the 5 A's system as a guide:

1. Ask: Identify tobacco users at every visit
2. Advise: Strongly urge all tobacco users to quit
3. Assess: Determine patient's willingness to attempt to quit
4. Assist: Aid the patient in quitting by providing counseling options
5. Arrange: Schedule follow up contact in person or by phone

Treating Tobacco Use

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This site is privately and personally sponsored, funded and supported by Dr. Peterson.  We have no outside funding.
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