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I’ll never forget hearing from my dad “your mom has diabetes.” I couldn’t wrap my head around that because she has always been an extremely healthy person. How could someone who works out daily and makes nutrient packed foods for lunch and dinner be diagnosed with this disease? I knew very little about diabetes and assumed it was only caused by eating a lot of sugar, which my mom did not. In fact, she isn’t a juice or soda drinker, she never bought it for my brothers and me growing up, I never saw her eating candy or fast food, so how in the world did she get this?
My mom became aware that she had type 2 diabetes during her regular yearly blood work. When she found out, she mentioned to her doctor that her legs and feet had been sensitive for a while and he told her that could be a sign of diabetes. Not knowing how she got it we began the research to figure it out. Because my mom is Hispanic her risk of being diagnosed is 66% higher when compared to non-Hispanic white adults . Nearly 12% of the U.S. Hispanic population has been diagnosed diabetes. We also found out that diabetes could be hereditary and one of her family members could have had it as well. Combine those two with the fact my mom only ate one big meal a day, and the chances of her getting this disease was on a high level. Being the busy mom (and grandma) that she is, she sometimes would forget to eat hearty breakfast and lunches and to make sure she was snacking on healthy snacks throughout the day.
She learned to control her disease through exercise and eating appropriately throughout the years. A few years passed and it seemed like she was in the clear. That is until recently. My mom had a huge scare. She had stopped exercising due to some gout on her foot and she needed to keep off that foot as much as possible, which made going to the gym not ideal. During that time she found a love with coconut water. It’s healthy, right? Well turns out coconut water is packed with a ton of sugar which isn’t good for a diabetic person. She wasn’t feeling like herself after a few months and went to the doctor. When her doctor checked her blood she was in the low 300’s – 316 to be exact. They wanted to put her on insulin but my mom opted the nutritional route, met with her nutritionist and got her numbers back to normal.
There are several signs that could indicate signs of diabetes— one being gum disease. According to the CDC , people with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease. When I learned that my jaw nearly dropped. My mom who battles with diabetes first had gum disease before she was aware she had the disease when I was a child and again only a year ago. She learned that not only is her physical health important when battling with diabetes but so is her dental care. Diabetes makes the body more susceptible to bacterial infections and less able to fight germs that invade the gums.
The good news is Colgate Total® toothpaste can help improve your gum health in as little as 4 weeks* and is approved by the FDA to help prevent gingivitis**, the most common form of gum disease. They’ve assembled a group of diabetes lifestyle and oral health experts and asked them to provide some useful tips about the issue.
Colgate Total and the American Diabetes Association launched a new campaign called “Watch Your Mouth!” to help raise awareness surrounding the often-overlooked link between oral health and diabetes.
There are a few simple steps we can take to help prevent early gum disease:
- Make sure you visit your dentist. While your doctor and certified diabetes educator play an important role in helping with your diabetes, so does your dentist.
- Follow healthy dental habits at home. Research shows that brushing twice a day with Colgate Total® toothpaste can help improve gum health in as little as four weeks.*
My mom now visits her dentist regularly which has helped her in more ways than she could have imagined. She can’t stress enough the importance of oral health care and visiting the dentist regularly is.
Visit OralHealthAndDiabetes.com for more information and helpful oral care tips.
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