HEALTHY MOUTH/HEALTHY BODY
Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by an inflammatory response to bacteria that gets under the gum tissue. It can cause irreversible damage to the tissues that support the teeth. As the bone that supports the teeth is lost, teeth may become loose and need to be extracted. Recent studies link oral infections with diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, and stroke. Research is ongoing to better understand these connections.
Patients with uncontrolled diabetes are at higher risk for developing periodontal disease and usually experience a more severe manifestation of the disease. Conversely, periodontal disease can be a risk factor for worsening glycemic control in patients with diabetes and may increase the risk of diabetic complications. Studies show a reduction of HbA1c levels two to three months after periodontal treatment with no other changes in the medical management of diabetes. Therefore, good oral health may help control diabetes and controlling blood glucose levels contributes to improved oral health.
Nevada Dental Benefits works with nurses at local hospitals, clinics and health fairs to reach people with diabetes and provide education about the relationship of maintaining good oral health and the management of diabetes.
Smoking is not only bad for your health, but your oral health as well. A few possible oral health problems from smoking and tobacco usage can be: gum disease, oral cancer, stained teeth and tongue, dulled sense of taste and smell and slow healing after a tooth extraction or surgery.
To stop using tobacco is the only way to decrease your risk of these and other tobacco-related health problems. The addictive quality of nicotine makes this especially difficult and is why it’s important to have a plan and support network to help an individual quit.
Nevada Dental Benefits works with the Nevada Tobacco Users Hotline to develop a smoking cessation program with its provider network. We have conducted face to face meetings with our dentists, hygienists and staff to explain this program and provided them with a supply of Tip Cards that contain information on how one can contact the Nevada Tobacco User’s Helpline for assistance.
As health care partners with our provider network, we feel it’s important to provide educational materials and resources available to help those individuals that choose to quit smoking. Therefore, we are continuing to share the oral health impacts of tobacco usage with our community partners and working with our provider network as a way to reach those “at risk” individuals.