A female patient on insulin, 67 years of age, required more and more insulin to manage her glucose levels. She was eating healthily, exercising, monitoring, and taking her insulin as prescribed. I asked her when she had last seen her dentist. She confessed that this was one part of her body she was not keeping up with. Yes, she brushed and flossed, but she had not had been to the dentist for years, mainly because she could not afford it on top of her other medical costs. I informed her that I’ve had many patients unable to manage their diabetes who then found out they were having dental problems. Once taken care of, their glucose levels returned target levels. I encouraged her to contact a dental school because other patients of mine had found the costs at a dental school affordable….
She did what I had suggested and sure enough, she had advanced periodontal disease. She subsequently received the care she needed and her blood glucose levels came back to her target levels. Plus, the dental care she received will hopefully help her keep her teeth.
- When assessing causes for hyperglycemia, ask about dental care.
- Teach the importance of regular dental exams and dental hygiene.
- Many people don’t have dental insurance or the finances for dental care. Referring them to a dental school can be a feasible option.
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