Word of Mouth
Asking Right Questions First Step to Good Diabetes, Oral Care
My name is Michael Goldberg and I am a dentist in Manhattan. So what am I doing turning up on a website devoted to diabetes? You're already taking the first step to good health — asking the right questions! Health is information and I don't have to tell you who is in charge of what you need to know. But if you're at dLife you probably know that already.
Ok, so here's the answer to the question: Infection is a key issue for everyone and it's particularly important for persons with diabetes. The most prevalent causes of infections are in your mouth, with gingivitis and gum disease being the most common. So here I am to help you.
It's not the bacteria or viruses that get stuck in your teeth themselves that are the problem; it's the body's response to those intruders, a process we call "inflammation." Why? Because inflammation can cause an increase in blood sugar and that makes your diabetes more difficult to control.
Inflammation is now thought to be a major cause of all kinds of health problems. It's the underlying cause of processes that lead to Heart Disease, Atherosclerosis, Stroke, Alzheimer's Disease and…DIABETES.
When it comes to diabetes, inflammation is a double whammy. Poorly controlled diabetes makes inflammation more severe and inflammation makes diabetes harder to control. It's a viscous cycle, but it can be controlled.
Your dentist and hygienist should be integral parts of your health care team. Here's what they should do (and if they don't do it you should gently remind them they should):
- Take a thorough medical history.
- Speak to your physicians and other members of your health care team (such as your nutritionist or diabetes educator) about your health care status.
- Perform a thorough periodontal assessment at every visit.
- Teach you how to prevent inflammation.
- Perform procedures that can reduce plaque accumulation, remove irritations, and reverse gum inflammation.
- Give you tips for at-home oral care techniques that will assure optimal health.
Let's first look at #1 (I'll be back to discuss #2 through #6 in subsequent columns.)
Ten years ago, I sat in my Primary Care Physician's office. I had just been weighed and measured. A nurse had just taken my vitals and my blood pressure had come in a bit higher than usual, which was no wonder because I sat there a nervous wreck. In the year since my last physical, I'd gained another fourteen pounds. I was the heaviest I'd ever been, the scale clocking me in at 228 at 5'3" tall. I honestly couldn't believe it. I knew that I hadn't gotten my eating habits under control in...