Today was one of those days, where doing what I do felt better than great.
A returning male patient of mine, aged 55, came by for a quick check up as he was due for a recall visit after 3 months. He looked so different, healthy and happy. And as it turns out, he was!
My patient, who had been suffering from type 2 Diabetes (even after controlling his food intake and regularly taking his medication) for the last 3 years, had managed to improve his condition. And consequently, it was all because of a couple of trips to the dentist.
Sounds crazy, I know! But there is a logical explanation.
Having avoided going to the dentist for a good 5 years, my patient had started having problems with his gums, battling a condition also known as severe periodontitis (an advanced form of gum disease which can start with gingivitis if left untreated.) Scaling and root planing (a type of deep cleaning, performed under local anesthesia) were one of the treatments I used to remove the bacteria inside the pockets around the teeth as well as a good number of broken teeth with puss and cysts that needed to be removed. In the period after the cleaning, we started a maintenance and hygiene plan, whereby he had to have a check up every two weeks for 2 months to make sure he was cleaning his teeth properly.
Even if I do the best cleaning treatment, everything I do can go to waste if the patient does not do a proper and thorough job cleaning their teeth.
How Diabetes and Oral health are related.
Diabetes increases the risk of infection and slows down healing, which, as a result, can greatly affect the health of your teeth. Periodontitis, also allows blood sugar levels to rise, which in turn makes diabetes difficult to control. Numerous studies have proven that there is a direct link between diabetes and periodontitis, which explains why people have trouble controlling diabetes when they have gum disease.
Doing regular check ups and cleaning can actually help control blood sugar levels, which is basically what happened to my patient.
Sharing this message with someone who you know is suffering from uncontrolled diabetes and gum disease, can possibly change their life around.
I would like to mention that not everyone that is suffering from diabetes will necessarily be able to reverse it after a trip to the dentist, only that in some cases, it can be helped and avoided with regular cleaning and annual checkups.
And if this blog hasn’t convinced you, maybe this video clip will :)
Visit your dentist every 6 months to evaluate the health of your gums. Doctor’s orders! :)