(BPT) - Health conditions in the human body interact in many different and unique ways. What may be surprising to people is how oral health is connected with diabetes.
A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive reveals a lack of awareness about the various health issues associated with diabetes – particularly oral health. More than one third of people with diabetes aren’t aware of the link between diabetes and oral health. While more than half of people with diabetes report one or more symptoms of gum disease, an astounding 67 percent do not discuss their oral health with their doctor. The majority of Americans living with diabetes say they don’t have enough information about the link between oral health and dental care, and they say they would benefit from more.
Dr. Natalie Strand shares five simple tips to help take charge of your diabetes and prevent gum disease. She managed her own diabetes while also winning a popular endurance reality TV show, is an assistant professor in clinical anesthesiology and a practicing physician at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.
1. Take charge with small steps
Take small steps to transform your life and your health. Walk one extra block before returning home, eat smaller portions of your favorite foods and brush your teeth after every meal. As you slowly make changes, keep your doctor and family informed. They’ll help you to keep a positive attitude and stay on the road to a healthier lifestyle.
2. Talk to your doctor and your dentist
Your doctor plays an integral role in helping you to manage your diabetes health, but your dentist can be important too. Make sure your doctor and your dentist know how to contact each other and are sharing information, so they can work together on your treatment plan.
3. Oral care isn’t just about having white teeth
People with diabetes are more susceptible to serious gum disease, so it’s important to take good care of your teeth and gums by getting regular dental checkups every six months. If you don’t have a dentist or dental insurance, a dental school in your area can be a great resource. Most dental schools also have clinics where the cost is often lower than visiting a private-practice dentist.
4. Glucose and gum disease could be a two-way street
Research suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes can go two ways, and serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. Taking steps recommended by your doctor to control your diabetes can decrease your likelihood of developing gum disease.
5. Choose your toothpaste wisely
One simple step to help control your gum health and to help prevent early gum disease is to brush for two minutes twice a day with a toothpaste specially formulated for gum health, such as Colgate Total, and floss at least once a day. Colgate Total is the only toothpaste FDA-approved and American Dental Association-accepted to help prevent gingivitis.
Colgate Total is approved through the New Drug Application Process to help prevent plaque, gingivitis and cavities. Not approved for the prevention or treatment of serious gum disease or other diseases.