At Hawkins Family Dentistry, we are always looking for new ways to make your life healthier and happier and new studies now prove that dentists can join primary care physicians in fight against diabetes. Dr. Hawkins and his staff want to do everything possible to help patients live a long and happy life.
You might think that there is no way you could have diabetes, and that this post doesn’t relate to you at all. But did you know that the American Diabetes Association estimates more than 7 million people in our country are living with undiagnosed diabetes?
Could I have diabetes?
Often people with Type 2 diabetes have no symptoms, which is why so many people go undiagnosed. The most common symptoms are:
• Frequent urination
• Blurred vision
• Frequent infections
• Cuts/ bruises that are slow to heal
• Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
• Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
Although it is certainly a debilitating disease, the good news about diabetes is that the earlier you are diagnosed, the better the chances of keeping your health under control. Catching the symptoms early will allow you to become educated on how best to care for yourself and maintain as much normalcy in your life as possible.
Dr. Hawkins and many other dentists in the Midlothian, VA area are embracing relationships with primary care physicians in an effort to provide the best care possible for their patients. This comprehensive care reaches across conditions such as sleep apnea, migraine headaches, heart disease and now includes diabetes.
The first sign of diabetes that Dr. Hawkins will look for in your mouth is gum disease. Studies have also now shown that comparing the number of missing teeth to the degree of periodontal disease is a very reliable indicator of whether or not you may have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
If we think you may have diabetes, we will recommend that you follow up with your primary care physician to confirm the diagnosis and come up with a plan of action for you.
Diabetes and Gum Disease
One of the most common oral symptoms of diabetes is periodontal (gum) disease, which leads many diabetics to lose their teeth in alarming rates. Diabetes decreases your ability to fight off infection, and increases the time it takes to recover once infected, causing gum disease to occur in diabetics in much higher rates than the average population.
While many people who have gum disease are not diabetics, a large percentage of diabetics have gum disease. Regardless of whether or not you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to control your gum disease for the sake of your overall health.
The Next Step
If you already know that you have diabetes, it is very important to tell your hygienist at your next appointment. Along with gum disease, diabetics are also more at risk for tooth decay, salivary gland dysfunction, fungal infections, and taste impairment.
Diabetes is just one more reason to keep your regular check-ups. If Dr. Hawkins and the hygienists see you in frequent intervals, they will be able to track any changes in your mouth, including those that indicate diabetes.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about diabetes or gum disease. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for all of the latest dental information for you and your family!