Diabetes and Your Oral Health

by MikeMeehan 11/14/2017 2:11 PM

November is Diabetes Awareness Month to bring attention to the disease and the millions of people affected by it. We’d like to join this effort from the perspective of your oral health. Frequently, we emphasize the connection between oral health and overall health. And that connection can work both ways. A person with diabetes is an example of this connection. If you have diabetes, you’re at a higher risk of developing gum disease. And, according to the American Diabetes Association, research suggests “serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.” What’s the connection? To be clear, diabetes doesn’t cause gum disease and gum disease doesn’t cause diabetes. But if you have one, you are likely to have the other, in comparison to others who don’t have diabetes or gum disease. To explain a bit further, if you have diabetes, your ability to fight infection is reduced. Gum disease is a type of infection in your gums and the surrounding bones supporting your teeth. Gum disease is also referred to as periodontal disease. Early gum disease, called gingivitis, has symptoms like red, swollen and bleeding gums. In the early stages, gingivitis can be reversible with daily brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist. When the condition reaches the later stage, called periodontitis, your gums are seriously damaged.  Talk With Your Dentist To prevent gum disease, practice good oral health care. If you have diabetes, since you’re at higher risk of developing gum disease, paying close attention to your teeth and mouth and maintaining a good oral health care routine is extremely important. Managing your diabetes will also help. According to studies, people who manage their diabetes tend to have less gum disease than people who are not managing their disease well. Talk with your dentist to discuss a plan going forward. Enhanced Benefits Also, if you have diabetes or gum disease you may be eligible for enhanced benefits through your Delta Dental plan, like extra cleanings and exams. Confirm your eligibility before treatment by contacting us directly or talking with your dental care provider. You may have to sign up for the enhanced benefits program before receiving the extra coverage. You can learn more about the symptoms diabetes can create in your mouth by visiting the American Dental Association website. Learn more about diabetes and Diabetes Awareness Month by visiting the American Diabetes Association website.

Men Need to Visit the Dentist More, Survey Finds

by MikeMeehan 6/14/2017 9:42 AM

Statistics show men need to visit the dentist more. There are some strong indicators that show we need to encourage our fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, and friends to take better care of their oral health. Recent noteworthy stats June is Men’s Health Month, and oral health is an important part of overall health. According to the 2017 Delta Dental Adult Oral Health and Well-Being Survey, men need to focus more on their oral health. Here are some of statistics from the recent survey: Only 63% of men visit the dentist at least once a year Only 69% of men brush their teeth the recommended twice a day 59% of men skip a brushing session at least once a month In the same survey, 69% of respondents noted that a smile is most important for a first impression whether at work, on a date, or other circumstances. It seems we all value a bright smile, and it’s a good reason to keep your oral health a priority. Periodontal disease, a specific concern Other studies have shown that men are more likely than women to develop periodontal (gum) disease. For example, 56.4% of men develop gum disease compared to 38.4% of women. Periodontal disease has been linked to cardiovascular disease and other health factors, so this is another alert to men. Watch for signs of gum disease such as swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums. There is another specific concern for men if they’re taking heart or blood pressure medication. These medications can cause a condition called dry mouth. With a lack of saliva, the risk of cavities increases. Some recommendations to combat dry mouth are increasing water intake, and avoiding salty foods, alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks. Some standard tips for oral health The choices and habits of some men can put them at a greater risk of oral health problems. Here are some standard dental health tips as a reminder, not just for men, for everyone: Brush twice a day and floss at least once a day – It’s essential to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. Visit the dentist – During your visit, get screened for gum disease and oral cancer. Choose healthier foods – Choosing fruits and veggies instead of pretzels and chips will not only help your overall health, it will prevent cavities from those foods that are high in carbs and sugar. Don’t use your teeth as a tool – This is often the reason behind dental injuries. Use your hand and arm strength to open those bottles and bags. No more tobacco – Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women. Gum disease, lost teeth, stained teeth and bad breath are some other possible impacts of using tobacco and tobacco products. Use these examples when you encourage a person (like your dad) to quit. On Father’s Day this Sunday, check in with your dad and make sure he is visiting the dentist. A new electronic toothbrush with a supply of dental floss would be a useful and considerate gift. Most importantly, tell him you care about him. That alone could be enough motivation for him to visit the dentist and pay more attention to his oral health.

Older Americans Month: What You Need to Know About Dentures

by Jason 5/22/2014 8:00 AM

While dental care has become much more of a priority for almost everyone, many older people will end up needing artificial teeth—or dentures—as they age. ... more...

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