National Diabetes Month is observed every November. The American Diabetes Association makes a point of raising awareness of the rapidly growing disease, making the public aware of the risk factors in order to educate and encourage the public to both take steps to minimize risk, and to encourage people to talk to health care professionals if they have symptoms or suspicions that they may need to seek treatment.
Diabetes comes in two forms – Type 1 (pancreas doesn’t produce sufficient insulin, typically diagnosed during childhood), and Type 2 (your body is unable to use the insulin it does produce). Risk factors for type 1 are typically family history (relatives with type 1 diabetes), and existing diseases of the pancreas. Risk factors for type 2 include obesity, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, and family history.
Diabetes comes with a significant number of health complications – blood vessels, heart, eyes, feet, and kidneys can all be impacted as blood glucose levels move away from normal levels. Among those complications are damage to teeth and gums – research shows that there is an increased likelihood of periodontal (gum) disease among patients with diabetes. Diabetes impacts the body’s ability to fight bacterial infections. In patients with periodontal disease, the bacterial colonies build up beneath the surface of the gums, below the teeth, and cause significant pain, discomfort, bone and tissue loss, eventually jeopardizing the teeth – in severe cases, surgery may be required to save teeth from falling out due to infection.
If you suffer from diabetes, or if you are at risk of diabetes, be sure that your health care includes brushing, flossing, and regular visits to dentists and dental hygienist. Controlling your blood glucose levels and keeping bacterial colonies within the gums under control is key to preventing bone loss and minimizing tooth loss.
Call Dr. Graham E. Farless DDS today for more information on National Diabetes Month, 336-282-2868. Visit his practice online at www.gsodentist.com.