Why You Should Know About Diabetes
You have probably heard of diabetes, but did you know that it affects more than seven million people and they aren’t even aware of it? According to the American Diabetes Association, three people will be diagnosed with diabetes during the minute it takes to read this paragraph. If diabetes hasn’t touched your life, you may think you’re safe, but Dr. Ochsner wants all Onalaska residents to know what it is, how to diagnose it, and how to protect yourself. Your health is important to us at Neighborhood Smiles, so please read this article to find out how diabetes can harm your body AND your mouth.
Diabetes: an American Epidemic
Diabetes has cost so many Americans their lives it now ranks as a leading cause of death and disability. It represents a massive burden on our healthcare system and more than ¾ of a million new sufferers are diagnosed each year. So what is this mass murdering disease? Diabetes is a condition that prevents the body from producing and/or properly using insulin. According to the American Diabetes Association, this results in dangerously high levels of and uncontrollable fluctuations in blood glucose.
Diabetes falls into three categories:
- Type 1 Diabetes- people are born with this type and it is usually discovered early in life.
- Type 2 Diabetes- this form will most likely be diagnosed during adulthood and accounts for most cases of diabetes.
- Gestational Diabetes- pregnant women can suffer from this type, most commonly in the third trimester.
Each of these types can have serious and lasting effects on your health, but modern medicine offers a number of advanced treatments. If you find yourself suffering from the following symptoms, get to your physician for a check-up:
- Your bruises and cuts heal slowly
- You experience frequent and persistent bladder, skin, or gum infections
- Your limbs are numb or tingly
- Your vision is blurry
- You feel the need to urinate frequently
Diabetes and Oral Health
Now that you know about the cause and warning signs of diabetes, you are probably wondering what brings Dr. Ochsner into this discussion. The fact is that Dr. Parker is committed to cultivating a relationship with your general practitioner because many conditions and diseases require more than just the help of one doctor. In the case of diabetes, patients are at high risk for many serious dental health problems, but we at Neighborhood Smiles will do everything in our power to keep you safe!
So how does diabetes affect your mouth? The bottom line is sugar. The increase in blood glucose levels caused by diabetes creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow on your teeth. The result is that people with diabetes are much more likely to battle tooth decay, xerostomia (dry mouth), oral ulcers, fungal infections, and advanced periodontitis (late-stage gum disease). Diabetes can also have a part in messing up the alignment of your teeth.
Diabetes is such a huge problem for your mouth that more than 7 out of 10 diabetics have gum disease and 1 in 3 have advanced gum disease. On top of that, results from the National Health Interview Survey indicate that fewer than 50% of diabetes’ victims saw their dentist last year.
Dr. Parker Can Help
We know that this can be scary, especially if you or a loved one suffers from diabetes. However, Dr. Ochsner is an expert in treating gum disease and Neighborhood Smiles has the best dental health technology available. Notably, a laser treatment known as LANAP therapy offers a non-invasive alternative for gum disease. This is perfect for diabetics because there is minimal healing time, allowing their immune system to focus on fighting infection.
We at Neighborhood Smiles care for our patients and we love making their lives better. Make sure to let Dr. Ochsner know if you have diabetes and he will discuss the best course of treatment for you. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us! And most importantly, don’t be afraid, because your dental health is in the very capable hands of Dr. Ochsner!