Many diabetic patients are unaware of the increased threat to their oral health

February 24th, 2014

Diabetes is a scary disease. Not only because of what it does, but because of how uninformed most people are of the disease's symptoms and debilitating effects to oral health.

The National Diabetes Education Program reports that currently, more than 25 million Americans have diabetes. However, what's truly startling is that 7 million are completely unaware of their affliction.

In a recent article, CNN special reporter Sia Figiel documented her own struggles with diabetes. She admits that even though diabetes is the number one killer among Pacific Islanders – of which she is one – and claimed both of her parents' lives, she knew very little about the disease prior to her own diagnosis. Figiel says to her, diabetes was something that "once you got it, you deteriorated and died."

As she soon came to find out, diabetes can affect every aspect of your life, but can be controlled with the right medications. Figiel explains how her doctors started her on an oral medication, but after six years her blood sugar levels were still too high and she was instead prescribed insulin.

Immediately, Figiel embraced insulin for its ability to level her out even after eating her favorite foods. Unfortunately, injecting large amounts of insulin into her body meant she would be prone to low blood sugar, which in turn meant she needed larger amounts of insulin at shorter and shorter intervals. She said many times her son had to save her life.

Using dental software to help increase awareness
Throughout this process, Figiel focused on managing her diabetes, but what she failed to realize was that the disorder was also taking a major toll on her teeth. She first notice her dilemma after switching to insulin. Figiel claims her teeth began to ache and even more surprising, one of her front teeth grew longer than the other. Before long she was unable to even bite down on an apple, and dentists had to remove the tooth.

The extreme pain and loss of her front tooth galvanized Figiel into action. She and her family all began learning more and more about diabetes and how to live with it. Sadly, Figiel ultimately lost all of her teeth to diabetes, but her fate doesn't need to be an inevitability for diabetic patients.

With dental academic software, university clinics can take a practice approach to educated patients. With a comprehensive library of easy to understand procedural videos, dentist can help keep diabetic clients well informed and engaged in their own oral care.

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