Saturday, April 23, 2011

Healthy gums may lower risk of heart disease, stroke

Dentists frequently tell their patients that poor oral health may result in periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, but individuals who do not heed their dentists' warnings may also be increasing their risk of developing serious cardiovascular conditions.

Periodontal disease is typically caused by plaque buildup that has been left untreated for a long period of time. Other dental problems such as crooked teeth, rough edges of fillings, and ill-fitting or unclean braces, dentures, bridges, or crowns can also irritate the gums and result in periodontal disease.

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) explains that the bacteria, which is produced at the sites of gum disease, can enter the blood stream and aid in the formation of blood clots. Normal blood flow and function may be obstructed by clots and can result in heart attack or stroke.

Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without the condition, the AAP adds.

Dentists may diagnose periodontal disease in patients who experience gum swelling, tenderness or bleeding. However, routine professional cleanings and diligent oral care will remove plaque and help avoid health complications.

Friday, April 8, 2011

International Diabetes Federation Guideline on Oral Health for People with Diabetes

Clinical guidelines from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) emphasize the importance of periodontal health for people with diabetes. Diabetes affects approximately 285 million people worldwide, and this number is only expected to increase. The IDF is an organization of 200 national diabetes associations from 160 countries.

The IDF oral health clinical guideline supports what research has already suggested: that management of periodontal disease—which affects the gums and other supporting tissues around the teeth—can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and can also help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Studies have suggested there is a two-way relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease, and the IDF guideline outlines helpful guidance for health professionals who treat people living with and at risk for diabetes.

The IDF guideline contains clinical recommendations on periodontal care, written in collaboration with the World Dental Federation (FDI), that encourage health professionals to conduct annual inquiries for symptoms of periodontal disease such as swollen or red gums, or bleeding during tooth brushing; and to educate their patients with diabetes about the implications of the condition on oral health, and especially periodontal health.

“Everyone should maintain healthy teeth and gums to avoid periodontal disease, but people with diabetes should pay extra attention,” said Samuel Low, DDS, MS, Associate Dean and professor of periodontology at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, and President of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). “Periodontal disease triggers the body’s inflammatory response which can affect insulin sensitivity and ultimately lead to unhealthy blood sugar levels. Establishing routine periodontal care is one way to help keep diabetes under control.”

In recognition of American Diabetes Month, the American Academy of Periodontology commends the International Diabetes Federation on the release of the Guideline on Oral Health for People with Diabetes, and supports its encouragement of continued collaboration and communication between diabetes and oral healthcare professionals.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Exercise Tips for People with Diabetes

A quarter of Americans get no exercise during their leisure time, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Less than twenty percent get the recommended amount of exercise. These numbers are dismal, given that exercise is vital to maintaining health, especially for individuals with diabetes.

Diabetes patients are at a higher risk for heart disease, and regular exercise can improve blood circulation and prevent heart problems. Physical activity also helps those with diabetes to:

Control their weight, blood glucose levels, and blood pressure

Lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol

Increase muscle strength and bone density

Improve insulin use

If you have diabetes, you should do moderate-intensity exercises for at least 10-20 minutes each day, eventually building up to 30-60 minutes five days a week.

Moderate-intensity physical activities include:

Walking briskly


Sports such as tennis, basketball, and volleyball



Mowing the lawn

Exercising with a partner is a good way to sustain your routine and make it more enjoyable. Before and after any physical activity, you should stretch to increase flexibility and decrease muscle soreness. For those with Type 2 Diabetes, strength training can have a significant impact on blood glucose level control. Exercising with elastic bands and hand weights builds muscle, which burns more calories and also strengthens bones.

Also try to be more active in your daily life. For example, instead of driving, try to walk whenever possible. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and exercise while watching television.

If you have diabetes complications, you should plan your exercise regimen with a doctor. Generally, though, if a patient has a blood glucose level that is less than 250 mg/dl, and does not have cardiovascular problems or retinopathy, neuropathy, or nephropathy, exercise is recommended, according to the American Diabetes Association.

During physical activity, you may experience hypoglycemia. Symptoms include trembling and shaking, palpitations, drowsiness, and headaches. If this occurs, you should take action immediately. Take a blood-glucose test to confirm that blood glucose levels are low, and rest for 10-15 minutes. You should also eat or drink foods containing sugar (5 or 6 pieces of hard candy, for example, or half a cup of fruit juice). If blood glucose levels are below 100 mg/dl, or you’re still feeling sick, you should not resume exercise. If you decide to continue, test your blood glucose levels every 20-30 minutes. To prevent hypoglycemia, you should eat a snack before exercising if your blood glucose levels are below 100 mg/dl. Make sure to continuously drink fluids to avoid dehydration. At the conclusion of your activity, check your feet for sores, blisters and other signs of irritation – if left unchecked, they may develop into serious infections.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool

Diabetes PHD (Personal Health Decisions) is a powerful risk assessment tool. It can be used to explore the effects of a wide variety of health care interventions, including losing weight, stopping smoking, and taking certain medications.

What Does Diabetes PHD Do?

In order to provide the most accurate health information to you, Diabetes PhD will ask you to create a personal health record. You will be asked to enter as much information as you can about your health history: height, weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure readings, last dilated eye exam, current medications, A1c number, etc.

In a short time, Diabetes PhD will determine a personalized Results Overview for you, showing your current risk for diabetes, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, as well as foot and eye complications. By changing certain variables in your profile, like stopping smoking, losing weight, taking ACE inhibitors, getting a regular foot exam etc., you will be able to see how making these changes would affect your future health.

Diabetes Personal Health Decisions

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Truth about Tooth Loss

The Truth about Tooth Loss

The American Dental Association (ADA) states that diabetics with difficulties controlling blood sugar levels develop periodontal (gum) disease more often and more severely, and they lose more teeth, than non-diabetics or diabetics with good control of blood sugar levels. Diabetics' poorer-than-normal healing response and compromised immune systems, gum disease, infections, and the destruction of bone anchoring teeth in place combine to put diabetics at greater risk for tooth loss, often at early age. Even diabetics with good oral hygiene who brush, floss, use mouthwash and have regular, ordinary cleanings at the dentist's office are still at high risk of gum disease, bone loss and tooth loss.

By the way, some people take a casual attitude toward tooth loss - chalking it up to age or an inevitable affect of diabetes and "not that big of a deal". This is DEAD wrong! There are many reasons your dentist can explain for doing everything in your power to keep your natural teeth as long as you can. Your health and number of years you live may depend on it.

Clinical experience tells us that our patients who keep their teeth or get restored to function live longer and have a better quality of life. According to the Center For Disease Control, over half of the population that is age 60, will live to be in their 90's or older. You need your teeth longer!