Type 2 diabetes is now an epidemic in the United States, currently affecting 29 million Americans. By 2050, diabetes is projected to affect 103 million, or one out of three Americans! How do we know this?
Today, 105 million Americans are already affected by insulin resistance (a combination of diabetes and its precursor pre-diabetes). Diabetes is the single biggest cause of blindness and kidney failure and greatly contributes to heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
Periodontal (gum) disease is also an epidemic —affecting 80 % of adults. The trouble is that these two diseases impact each other. Uncontrolled (and undetected) diabetes makes gum disease and bone loss around teeth much more severe. Additionally, gum disease makes controlling diabetes very difficult.
What to Expect
Addressing gum disease often requires “deep scaling” in the gum pockets as part of the treatment. Introducing a sharp instrument into a bacteria-infected pocket becomes an added health threat in an uncontrolled (or undetected) diabetic patient.
So in our office we will want to know your diabetic status before treating gum disease. We offer a chairside fingerstick test of A1C—a measure of glycated sugar in your blood over the past 2-3 months. It requires no fasting or other special preparation and takes only 6 minutes to see results.
If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, we recommend you have your A1C monitored every three to six months at your scheduled preventive exam. The charge is $25 per test.
Our Team Leads in Total Health and Disease Prevention
With type 2 diabetes on the rise, Dr. Susan is leading our profession in the quest to help uncover unknown diabetes and refer for treatment, but also to uncover unknown pre-diabetes, which is affecting 89 million Americans, to help them reverse this condition before a patient becomes diabetic. In 2016, Dr. Susan Maples, working with Dr. Saleh Aldesouqui , Michigan State University’s Department of Endocrinology chair, published a research article titled Diabetes Detection in the Dental Office (Journal of Diabetes Mellitus, Feb, 2016).
Our office tested 500 of our adult patients in this award-winning study, gauging patients’ A1C levels against 14 questions as a proposed dental-friendly screening tool —one that did not include BMI or body weight measurements. 19.2% of our tested patients were informed they had diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Those patients that were pre-diabetic learned that they were within five years of a permanent life-shortening illness, one that can take their eyesight, kidneys and limbs. As scary as that sounds, these patients were equipped with knowledge and motivated to turn the ship around!
We were honored to facilitate our patients' changes in their diet and exercise patterns. These included:
- Reducing sugar and refined flour consumption
- Decreasing all prepackaged and fast food
- Increasing fiber
- Increasing daily exercise and movement
Our team found in conclusion, these changes made a big difference for most of these patients over the following year. Many now want follow-up A1C testing at their regular cleaning visits in order to monitor their progress.
To preempt diabetes progression for ourselves and others, we should each familiarize ourselves with the many diabetes risk factors. As adults we should also know our A1C level (measure of 2-3 months circulating blood sugar. We are also happy to monitor your A1C levels with a simple finger-stick blood test that will give us results in just a few minutes. We will also relay your results to your medical team for duplicate tracking.
We offer a sincere commitment to help you be
healthier tomorrow than you are today!