Your Patients Want to Know…How to Better Control Diabetes through Oral Health

When it comes to diabetes, let your patients know about the impact oral inflammation can have on their health. Explain what you can do to help them and what they can do to help themselves. Clarify what they can do to take control so that they can live happier, longer lives.

Give your patients optimal assistance.

Include questions in your health interview about whether the patient has been diagnosed with diabetes, has been counseled about being at risk (prediabetic), and/or has a family history of diabetes. If your patient affirmatively answers to any of these questions, inquire about what they know about the link between gum inflammation and systemic diseases, such as diabetes.

Gently, explain why you are concerned.

Even if it is slight, gum inflammation is harmful when chronic. Let them know that among other health problems, persistent inflammation exacerbates diabetes and development of diabetes. It would help to tell them a story about an anonymous dental patient whose blood sugar decreased over a matter of six months and improved again within a year due to the elimination of gum inflammation.

Invite your patients to begin a new oral health regimen.

Let them know that you will partner with them to track their compliance, evaluation, and improvement. Inspire them with a story about another anonymous patient whose oral health and diabetes was improved by starting a healthier regimen.  They too can experience the healing power of making healthy choices and developing healthy habits throughout their life.

Your patients will start to report to their physicians, family, and friends about the conversations you have had with them. They will all be able to see the efforts you are making to control inflammation in their mouths, and the evidence of improved health. You might begin to see referrals from these patients and their doctors start to follow.

Deborah Bush, MA

Deb Bush was the Communications Manager for The Pankey Institute from 1997 to 2003, and a consulting marketing and educational writer for the Institute through 2009. After completing graduate school at the University of Michigan, in 1976, she began a long career in technical writing and knowledge translation in the fields of environmental impact, econometrics and finance, CAD/CAM engineering, accounting and taxation, medicine and dentistry. Currently, she is the Director of Content for Patient Prism Academy (at www.patientprism.com) and will always be a raving fan of The Pankey Institute.

Deborah Bush, MA

One thought on “Your Patients Want to Know…How to Better Control Diabetes through Oral Health

  • Barry Polansky
    October 23, 2019 at 11:19 am
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    Not only did I practice dentistry for 47 years——thirty two of those years I was and still am a Type 2 diabetic. I spent many hours in conversation with patients —-explaining the role of diet, exercise, medications, sleep, glucose monitoring…the list goes on and on. I explain that for me—diabetes was a blessing. It is a lifestyle disease (some genetics involved too). Many of my conversations revealed to me how poorly educated people are —-and how many —think they know. I helped many people and many looked to me for advice. Others never heard a word I was saying…like any health care education—-the educator makes all the difference.

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