Diabetes affects nearly 10% of the population, and a vast number of Americans are pre-diabetic, which means that without lifestyle changes, these people will end up with type 2 diabetes. As we discussed earlier this month, diabetes and oral health go hand in hand. In fact, they can negatively or positively affect one another.
Today, we would like to tell you one such story about a patient named Tina. Spoiler alert – this story has a happy ending. But Tina and her dentist both know that the story is not over. Before we begin, please take a moment to think about when you were last here in the office. If it’s been several months, it is time to give us a call at 956-242-6745 (Junction Drive) or 956-517-2695 (Winfield) to schedule your next appointment.
A Normal Beginning
Tina began life as many of us do. She was the oldest of three daughters. She had attentive parents who encouraged her to go to school for advanced college degrees. Tina became a school teacher until she started her own family years later. She raised four children on a small farm where they lived mostly off of the land.
In all of this, Tina never put her own health first. When she began to feel poorly decades later, the doctor confirmed a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Tina immediately instituted changes in her life. She began exercising, eating well, and taking medication. She saw dramatic results, but she still did not feel 100% well.
Tina decided to speak with a new doctor, who asked when Tina had last been to the dentist. Tina couldn’t remember – it had been that long ago. She scheduled an appointment and went a few weeks later. She couldn’t believe what she discovered.
The Healing Process
Tina had learned that diabetes and gum disease are related to one another, but she hadn’t realized the depths of that relationship. She thought that diet and exercise were the only things she needed to worry about, but Tina was wrong.
Her dentist informed her that she had advanced periodontal disease, which was almost certainly affecting her blood glucose levels. She was struggling to feel well because her medication alone was not enough to control her diabetes. Tina’s dentist helped her build a treatment plan that included deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. Once the infection was removed, Tina continued to visit her dentist every three months to keep her gums clean and healthy. After about two years, Tina received the good news that her gums were back to normal!
As you can tell, it was a long process to bring her back to health. During that time, her blood sugar control improved as well. Tina even invested in a water flosser so that she could maintain a clean mouth between dentist visits!
You may be wondering why we told you about Tina. You see, Tina could be any of us. Her struggle is not an uncommon one. We see patients who are in incredible pain due to gum disease infections, and it takes time to bring them back to full health.
The best thing for you to take away from this conversation is that prevention is key. The work that Tina is doing now with her quarterly cleanings, water flosser, and general awareness will prevent periodontal disease in the future.
We can help you develop plans for your future oral health as well. Call us today at 956-242-6745 (Junction Drive) or 956-517-2695 (Winfield) to schedule a checkup. Let us evaluate your current health and create a treatment plan that will improve your smile for decades to come. Call now!