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Understanding the Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

I was 28 years old when I was diagnosed to with Type 1 diabetes. I experienced varied reactions: shock, fear, and confusion. I knew that this type of disease could be hereditary and so I dug up my family history. I called my mother who lives in another state and when I asked her about a family member who has had Type 1 diabetes, she told me that my paternal grandmother died from complications caused by the disease. Perhaps this explains why even if there are no physical indications that I am harboring this disease inside me, I still had it.

Doctor’s Warnings

When I arrived home from my checkup, I still could not believe that I have Type 1 diabetes. But looking back, I realized there were telltale signs of the disease that I just ignored. For instance, I would feel so thirsty but several glasses of water couldn’t quench it. I have small wounds that did not heal right away. Even the parts of my body that I scratched would become reddish and look infected. The doctor issued a list of the things that I must do to keep my ailment under control. Here are some of his advice:

  1. Avoid getting wounded 

My doctor warned me to be careful with my skin since even just a small wound can get infected and lead to complications. How about my regular manicure and pedicure? I might also get wounded in the process. What about my being prone to cutting myself whenever I slice something? All this made me wonder if I would be able to avoid the small wounds that used to be harmless.

  1. Change eating habits

Since I grew up at a time when fast food restaurants were the best places to have my meals, I cannot imagine weaning myself avoiding the crispy fries, mouth-watering burgers, and lots of junk foods that I keep in my room plus the bottles of soda that provide me energy each day. Shall I cook all the good foods the doctor recommended? What if I cut myself in the process? But the doctor was adamant that I cut my ingestion of foods that can make my blood sugar level skyrocket.

  1. Exercise regularly

This seems not to bring any problem because I work out regularly. This is the only advice that I welcomed with joy in my heart. Even if the doctor said I might do intense routines to burn all the calories in my body, I did not feel alarmed. This is just something that I love to do and if it is to fight off my disease, I am willing to spend more hours on it.

  1. Get enough sleep

My doctor told me that almost all patients that come to her office with extremely high blood sugar levels have spent sleepless nights. Lack of sleep apparently causes the blood glucose to shoot up. This is not a problem because I have a day job. The only issue is that I will miss all the movies I love to watch at home and all the books that I usually finish reading by dawn. But these are small sacrifices for my goal to control my disease.

  1. Keep a healthy mouth

Did I hear my doctor right? How does my mouth affect my diabetes? I did some research and discovered that too much sugar in the body can make the gums susceptible to diseases such as periodontitis. This can lead to some teeth falling. Infected gums, in turn, can make blood sugar rise. I take pride in my strong teeth, which made me miss several scheduled dental check-ups. Now, I searched for the best dental clinics in our area just to make sure that I would not end up toothless by the age of 40. I discovered there is a dental clinic just a building away from my workplace. I was told by my co-worker that an experienced Brunswick dentist has been treating diabetics who have mouth problems especially gum disease.

In the past two years since I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I followed all the advice of my doctor. I changed my food preferences and eating habits, I exercised a lot, I never had any scratches, punctures, or wounds ever since, and I am now regularly visiting the dentist near my workplace. Now I have glowing skin from eating all the right foods, I maintain a healthy weight, and I have a slim body as a result of my workouts. Of course, I still have my complete set of teeth attached to healthy gums. I am grateful that I was told by my doctor that my oral health could be at risk because of my diabetes. If I had never known that it could be affected by my condition, I might be a toothless hag today. I can now say that I have full control of my disease, including my blood sugar.