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Diabetes: Spotlight on Eyes and Teeth

Imagine struggling to read this sentence because the words are blurry or you’re seeing double. Or picture chewing your dinner and suddenly feeling one of your teeth begin to wiggle.

Diabetes complications like these would probably prompt a call to your doctor or dentist. But you don’t have to wait for a loose tooth or a loss of vision before you act—you can take steps right now to keep your eyes and teeth healthy.

What's at Stake

Uncontrolled diabetes can damage eyes and teeth.

High blood sugar and high blood pressure can harm tiny blood vessels in the eye and cause problems such as glaucoma and retinopathy. High blood sugar also aids the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which can lead to gum disease.

The best way to prevent these kinds of problems is to keep your blood glucose and blood pressure under control, according to the American Diabetes Association.

That means sticking to your diabetes management plan, which may include making changes to your diet and exercise habits and taking medication.

Focus on Eyes

In addition, the National Institutes of Health recommends:

  • Seeing an eye doctor once a year. Ask him or her to check for signs of cataracts and glaucoma.
  • If you’re pregnant and have diabetes, seeing an eye doctor during your first trimester.
  • If you notice changes in your vision, call your eye doctor.

Chew on This

To help protect your oral health:

  • Floss at least daily. Gently floss between teeth with a sawing motion, scraping from bottom to top.
  • Brush after every meal and snack. Use a soft brush, and move in small, circular motions. Be sure to get the front, back and top of every tooth.
  • See your dentist twice a year, and make sure he or she knows you have diabetes.
  • Take care of oral health problems right away.

If you are looking for help or support in managing your diabetes, the ValleyCareDiabetes and Nutrition Education Center can help in all phases of diabetes management. Call 925.416.6710 today.

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