As we welcome spring, many people embrace the many steps involved in 'spring cleaning'. The sense of accomplishment and the pride in preparing our homes for the beauty of spring and summer truly can put a smile on our faces. At Rideau Valley Diabetes Services, the teams of Nurses and Dietitians encourage people to include that smile in their spring cleaning agenda.
Research in the last few years has made very strong links in the connection between poor oral health (cavities, gum disease, etc) and the increased risk of major health concerns. Heart disease and diabetes are among the growing list of health issues impacted by poor oral health. For people who already have diabetes, poor oral health can complicate their disease even further. The Canadian Diabetes Association website, www.diabetes.ca also outlines the fact that poorly managed blood sugar levels can lead to a number of oral health issues. These include:
Severe tooth aches;
Severe gum disease;
A decrease in saliva leading to a dry mouth. The increased sugar in this saliva feeds bacteria leading to infection, tooth decay and loss of teeth;
Thickening of small blood vessels of the gums leading to infection of the gum and bone tissue. These infections ultimately cause blood sugar levels to rise even more.
Here are some important facts to remember, regarding your dental health – any time of year:
Red, sore, swollen or bleeding gums; gums pulling away from your teeth; loose or sensitive teeth; bad breath; a bite that feels different and dentures (false teeth) that don't fit well all indicate signs of damage to your teeth and gums.
Floss and brush your teeth after each meal.
Regular dental check-ups are important to find problems early, so gum disease can be treated and controlled before it gets worse.
Blood sugar targets for everyone with diabetes are: before meal readings of 4-7mmol/l and 2 hour after meal readings of 5-10mmol/L.
If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit smoking.
Continue to make exercise a part of your healthy lifestyle.
Eat healthy! Be sure to include fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and avoid high sugar snacks.
Protect your teeth - don't chew hard candies, even if they are sugar-free. Chewing hard candies can damage your teeth.
If you have questions about your diabetes, your numbers are out of target, or you just feel the need for a refresher, you are welcome to contact Rideau Valley Diabetes Services to explore what education options are available to help you reach your targets. We currently offer group education programs, and/or individual appointments with our nurses and/or dietitians.
For more information, contact Rideau Valley Diabetes Services at: Smiths Falls and area, 613-284-2558 or toll-free 1-877-321-4500, or Brockville and area, 613-498-1555.
Our mission is to assist people affected by diabetes to develop their knowledge, strengths and skills to live healthy lives. There is no cost for our services.