I’m a diabetic and I thinkI have an infection. The TeleDentists are here to help.
In the first wave of thepandemic, a patient contacted us in a panic. “I’m a diabetic and I have anulcer on my gums. It’s yellow and oozing and I’m afraid it’s an infection. It’sthe weekend and I don’t know what to do? I am so worried because of mydiabetes.”
When the patient consulted with TheTeleDentist, the patient learned they had an aphthous lesion, known as a cankersore. Her fear was resolved and medication for the ulcer was prescribed. She was reassured that it was not an infection and would not get worse due toher diabetes.
Without access to a dentist, her deepestfears came out. As Larry David, the creator of Seinfield and Curb YourEnthusiasm said when asked what he fears the most, he replied:
“Anarchy and a potential dentalemergency — and not necessarily in that order.” I think we can all agree.
Diabetics are educated to be concernedabout infections, but are not advised about infections in their mouth, so she was right to be concerned. Periodontal diseaseis a leading indicator of diabetes and the oral cavity is a 9 inch wound thatgoes untreated in most diabetics. If 9 inch wound was visible on an armor leg, the entire healthcare team jumps into action for treatment and healing.
A1c’s cannot get under control with anuntreated infection, even in the mouth.
Periodontitis has been referred to as thesixth complication of diabetes.
Research shows that bacteria from themouth correlate with poorer control of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.Treating the periodontal condition does have a beneficial effect for diabeticcontrol. And, a recent study found that smoking increases the risk ofperiodontal disease by nearly 10 times in diabetic patients.
A dentist must be part of the healthcareteam for diabetics. A dental consultation/education and triage to theappropriate provide is key to the improvement of oral health and improves theoutcome for diabetic patients.