November brings much needed awareness to an illness that affects millions of people. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and shines a light on the 29.1 million people in the United States alone who themselves deal with this disease every single day of every single month. That figure itself is a staggering 9.3% of the current population of America. Diabetes itself is a disease where the body itself cannot properly process glucose (type of sugar). The levels of glucose in the bloodstream are controlled by a hormone called insulin that is produced in the pancreas. No insulin there to regulate the glucose is the problem. The most common types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes – where the pancreas produces little to no insulin, appears during childhood or teen years
- Type 2 Diabetes – affects the way the body produces glucose, the most common form of diabetes, can happen at any age but mostly in people age 40 and over.
- Prediabetes – exhibits very high blood sugar but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2.
- Gestational Diabetes – high blood sugar that affects pregnant women.
People with diabetes suffer with various symptoms, some of which are:
- Extreme hunger
- Increased Thirst
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Slow-healing sores
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Frequent infections – gum or skin
Diabetes And Oral Health
Those with untreated diabetes are at a high risk for problems with their oral health.
- Dry mouth – less saliva leaves you with dry mouth. Saliva helps to protect teeth and gums, without it you are more susceptible to developing cavities.
- You might have problems tasting your food.
- Your gums can bleed and become inflamed, resulting in gingivitis.
- You are more susceptible to infections inside your mouth.
- Wound healing takes longer.
- Children with diabetes can get their teeth in sooner than other children.
Patients with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing Periodontal Disease. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that can destroy your gums, the tissues that hold your teeth in place and even the bones in your mouth and your jawbone. It is the most common dental disease of those with diabetes and affects about 22% of diabetes patients. High levels of blood sugar can affect the gums and diabetes makes it harder to fight off infections.
Make An Oral Health Action Plan
- Establish good oral health habits – brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.
- See your dentist for regular checkups and keep them informed of your health.
- If you wear dentures, clean them daily.
- Don’t smoke
- Keep your blood glucose levels under control.
A very helpful tool for those that have diabetes and diabetes related oral health issues is the Brilliant Special Soft Toothbrush by Brillant Oral Care. The Special Soft Toothbrush was created especially for those suffering from oral sensitivities due to special medical conditions. It has a round brush head that will clean your teeth, gums, tongue and cheeks all at once. It has 21,000 microfine, soft bristles to give you the clean you need without the pain and problems that other brushes might cause. Taking control of your diabetes and your health includes your oral health, your oral hygiene practice makes a difference. It’s that important.
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