Can Diabetes Affect My Teeth?
In the past few years, I’ve had a number of teeth surgically extracted. My dentist tells me this is a complication of my diabetes. What can I do to help protect my teeth?
The less well-controlled your blood sugar, the higher your risk of oral health issues (uncontrolled diabetes impairs white blood cells, which are the body’s main defense against bacterial infections, such as gum disease.) Dry mouth, another common symptom of diabetes, can cause infections, ulcers, and tooth decay. Maintain good blood sugar control and brush your teeth twice daily. Schedule regular checkups and cleanings (at least twice a year.) Let your dentist know you have diabetes, and mention what medications you’re taking. If you smoke, the best thing you can do is quit: People with diabetes who smoke are up to 20 times more likely than nonsmokers to develop gum disease.
-Susan Weiner, RD, MS, CDE, CDN, Susan Weiner, Nutrition, New York City
OUTSMART EXERCISE LOWS
Last week while playing basketball with my son, I nearly collapsed from a blood sugar low. How can I be active without worry?
Taking these steps can help you get a handle on your blood sugar when engaging in physical activity: Prior to your workout, have a high-carb snack or drink that has 15-30 grams of quick-acting carbs (like juice) to cover what you will burn off (ask your diabetes educator to help you calculate your needs). Next time you play basketball with your son, bring your blood testing supplies and extra rapid-acting carbohydrates like glucose gel or tabs. Test your blood sugar prior to exercising and every 20 to 309 minutes thereafter and make necessary adjustments.
-Eliot LeBow LCSW, CDE, diabetes-focused psychotherapist and certified diabetes educator in private practice, founder of www.thediabeticdiary.com, a free online platform designed to help people with diabetes thrive.
FIGHT CRAVINGS AT THE OFFICE
My co-workers often bring sugary snacks to share at the office. How can I resist temptation?
This is certainly a challenge for people who try to eat healthfully. On one hand, your don’t want to send your blood sugar levels soaring. On the other, you don’t want to feel singled out by refusing offers. Try to get comfortable saying “no thank you.” When socializing with co-workers, drink a calorie free beverage, which may help reduce your cravings. Ask yourself: Is this something that my body needs? If my body doesn’t need it, then why take it? If your mouth won’t stop watering, eat (and savor!) half of a cookie or sliver of cake. Sometimes cravings won’t subside until you have a small serving. Plus, you don’t want to be distracted by thinking about food all day at work!
_Nanette Steinle, MD, assistant professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine, interim chief, endocrine and diabetes section, Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Shared with you through: The Diabetic Kitchen