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Diabetes Prevention Is In Your Hands…And Your Mouth!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Sugar and nutrition are the culprits behind many health concerns. You’ve heard us talk about limiting sugar for your oral health: cleaning up your diet and incorporating healthier lifestyle choices makes sense for your dental hygiene as well as your entire body’s future health!

Diabetes: Here’s What to Know

There are many reasons to attempt to avoid developing diabetes. Diabetes puts you at risk for additional health concerns, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Another complication is an increased risk for gum problems, since poor blood glucose control makes gum problems more likely. In fact, the relationship goes both ways. New research suggests that gum disease can also affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. To make matters worse, those with diabetes are more likely to develop thrush, dry mouth, and experience tooth loss (1, 2).

Type 2 diabetes is now the most common – and preventable – type of diabetes. Making lifestyle choices that support your health and prevent this disease is the best and biggest way to take a step towards prevention (3). It might surprise you to learn that sugar intake isn’t the only cause of diabetes: it’s actually a multi-factorial issue.

Tips To Preventing Diabetes

If you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, lead a sedentary lifestyle, or currently include high amounts of sugar in your diet, you should make diabetes prevention a priority. Check out these prevention tips from the American Diabetes Association (3). Not only will these tips help prevent diabetes; they will help you maintain great oral health in the process. And we think that is win-win!

1. Aim to Eat More Nutrient Dense Foods

You have heard us talk about the health concerns of too much sugar in your diet. Sugar can sit in your mouth after eating, causing increased bacteria growth, decay, and damage to your teeth and gums. But it is also the culprit behind many health conditions. Excess sugar intake can lead to blood sugar control problems as well as weight gain, both of which are risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Increasing your fiber intake brings prevention into your hands and mouth in several ways. It helps improve your blood sugar control, it lowers your risk of heart disease, and it promotes weight loss by helping you feel full for longer. In addition, fibrous food’s rough quality helps keep your teeth cleaner – a perk we are on board with!

What foods are high in fiber? Think roughage foods – vegetables, beans, fruits, whole grains and nuts. These foods pack a lot of bulky substance as well as nutrition. We call these nutrient-dense foods, compared to their more “empty calorie” high-sugar, low-fiber counterparts, such as processed candies, crackers, cookies and snacks.

Whole grains also help reduce your risk of diabetes and maintain blood sugar levels. Unlike refined sugar products, whole grains take longer to digest, thus dumping sugars into your blood more slowly (3).

2. Become More Physically Active

Regular exercise helps you lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight. It also burns calories and lowers your blood sugar – that energy currently in your blood waiting to be used or stored as fat for later. Exercise has also been found to boost your sensitivity to insulin. Insulin sensitivity is necessary to transfer sugar out of your blood into cells and helps keep your blood sugar within a normal, healthy range.

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ALL types of exercise help control diabetes! But the very best benefit comes when your fitness routine includes both cardio and resistance training. So mix it up! But most importantly, get moving: A sedentary lifestyle means increased risk for diabetes (3).

3. Lose A Few Extra Pounds

Being overweight also increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Don’t be overwhelmed if you feel like you have a long way to go! Every pound you lose can improve your health status. A recent study found that those who decreased their weight by just 7% saw a 60% reduction in diabetes risk. However, avoid fad diets. Lifestyle changes, such as diet changes and exercise, are the safest and most effective tools to achieving long-lasting weight loss and health benefits (3).

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Your Oral Health and Overall Health Are Connected

The Surgeon General’s “Report on Oral Health” reminds us that good oral health is vital to our body’s general health. Regular brushing, flossing, and a conscious effort to eat healthfully make a huge impact – not only in your mouth – but for your other body systems as well (2).

Working towards the lifestyles changes mentioned above can reverse prediabetes, lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, improve your health overall, help you feel more energetic, and reduce your chances of diabetic-related oral health issues (4).

Keep Us In The Loop!

People with diabetes have special needs. All of us at Hagen Dental Practice are equipped to meet those needs, so be sure to tell us if you have diabetes! Keep us informed of any changes in your condition, as well as about any medication you might be taking.

Good Dental Health For All

Whether you are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or neither, regular checkups with Dr. Hagen are crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth and detecting oral health concerns early. Have questions or need to schedule your next appointment? Give us a call at (513) 251-5500.

Sources:

  1. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/
  2. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/diabetes-and-oral-health.html
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-prevention/art-20047639
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/prediabetes-type2/preventing.html