Living with diabetes? Watch your mouth

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Diabetes and Dental Health: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that people with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease. Maintaining good oral care habits is essential. | File photo

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease. In fact, about one-third of people with diabetes have severe gum disease.

Why are those with diabetes more vulnerable to gum disease? High blood glucose levels impair the body’s ability to heal from oral infections and uncontrolled diabetes can make treating gum disease more difficult, according to the American Diabetes Association. The Association is joining with Colgate to launch a new “Watch Your Mouth!” campaign to help raise awareness surrounding the often over-looked link between oral health and diabetes. Here are five tips to help you live well with diabetes:

1. Begin to develop healthy oral care habits, like brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly.

2. Don’t miss out on your favorite foods. Just eat healthier versions that everyone in your family can enjoy. Making simple substitutions to most dishes can help increase nutritional value, while not sacrificing on taste.

3. Use the right tools. Stay organized with a journal large enough to keep your diet, exercise, goals and health information together. Keep a week’s worth of prescriptions in one place with a handy pill case.

4. Know your risks. The American Diabetes Association lists the common risk factors for diabetes as being 45 or older, being overweight, not exercising regularly, having high blood pressure and being a part of certain racial and ethnic groups.

5. Visit your dentist. While your doctor and certified diabetes educator play an important role in helping with your diabetes, so does your dentist. If you don’t see a private-practice dentist, you can visit dental schools that provide services at a fraction of the cost to help you keep your mouth healthy.

For more expert tips and information, visit www.OralHealthAndDiabetes.com.

— Family Features