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Re: [IP] diabetes and dentist

In the spring I went to the dentist for the 
first time in years.(Fear and denial had kept 
me away.) I was lucky -- my gums were in decent 
shape, considering. The dentist found a few new 
cavities, repaired some old ones, did scaling and
root planing (cleaning beneath the surface of 
the gums), and advised me on how to take better 
care of my teeth and gums in future. She suggested 
that I come back to her to have my teeth cleaned 
three times a year.

I'm now using a sonic toothbrush and oral irrigator 
(Water Pik) nightly at bed time (my dentist said 
this was better than flossing), and brushing my 
teeth with a regular toothbrush after lunch most 
days. Next week I'm going in for my first regular 
cleaning since all the major stuff was finished this 
spring. I hope that some of the deterioration of my 
gums that my dentist noticed when I first went in 
is beginning to heal. I *know* that my mouth feels 
better, my gums are no longer "itchy," and flossing 
no longer hurts or bleeds. Obviously, I'm doing 
something right (finally).

I think the bottom line is that teeth and gums, 
like just about every other part of the body, are 
affected by diabetes, so it pays to take special 
care of them. How much they are affected depends 
on your genes, medical history, and diabetic control, 
not to mention luck. It is not inevitable that your 
teeth will all fall out because you have diabetes, 
any more than it's inevitable that you'll go blind 
or that your kidneys will fail. These things do 
happen -- they've happened to some of the people
on this list -- but they don't happen to everyone
with diabetes. One thing to keep in mind is that
sometimes doctors overstate things because they
want to scare you into taking better care of 

/Janet Lafler
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