Every year in April, the World Health Organization (WHO) focuses on global awareness of a major public health issue. This year, WHO turns its attention to diabetes awareness and prevention.
Diabetes is a serious and chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces (type 2 diabetes). Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves.
The good news is that diabetes can be controlled or even prevented. Increasing physical activity, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding tobacco use and taking medication as prescribed can decrease the risk of developing diabetes and related cardiovascular diseases.
Good oral hygiene also plays an important role in controlling the adverse effects of diabetes on the rest of the body. Because poor blood sugar control makes gum problems more likely, those who have diabetes are at a greater risk for gum disease. Brushing, flossing and seeing the dentist regularly are the three main steps in fighting gum disease.
With its emphasis on diagnostic and preventive care, the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) can help enrollees avoid the risk of other health issues associated with diabetes. In addition to two annual exams and an x-ray, enrollees with diagnosed type 1 or type 2 diabetes can get three annual cleanings—and these services are paid at 100% with no deductible, no applicable maximum and no out-of-pocket costs when provided by a TRDP network dentist.
Visit these sites for more information about diabetes awareness and prevention and its effect on oral health: