Dental, Foot & Skin Care

Diabetes Dental Tips

Too much glucose (sugar) in your blood from diabetes can cause pain, infection and other problems in your mouth. Poor dental hygiene can also lead to infections in the blood stream. The patient with poorly controlled diabetes is at greater risk of developing periodontal disease, which , if unchecked, can cause infection, tooth loss and other problems.

To learn more about diabetes and dental care, click here.

Foot and Skin Care

High blood glucose can, over time, damage nerves throughout the body. Some people may experience numbness or tingling in their hands, feet, arms or legs. Some people feel pain, while others have no symptoms. Diabetic neuropathy is the medical term for damage to the nervous system from diabetes.

Over half of people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage from diabetes. People with diabetes can develop neuropathy at any time, but risk rises with age and the duration of the disease. People who have had diabetes for over 25 years have the highest rates of nerve damage from diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy develops more often in people who have problems controlling their blood glucose levels. Keeping blood glucose under control is important to prevent damage to nerves and delay onset.

It is important for those living with diabetes to pay special attention to their feet and skin. High blood glucose levels can lead to foot and skin complications.

  • Nerve Damage – Nerve damage can prevent an individual from feeling pain, heat or cold in their legs and feet, thus making it more difficult to identify cuts or sores. Unidentified and/or ignored cuts and sores can easily become infected.
  • Poor Blood Flow – Uncontrolled diabetes management can affect the heart and vascular system. Problems arise when not enough blood flows to your legs and feet, and as a result, cuts, sores and infections cannot heal. The medical term for this problem is peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Compounded with smoking makes this disease much worse.
  • Dry Skin – Dry skin is a problem for those living with diabetes and often time leads to cracks in the skin.

To Prevent Complications

  • Keep your blood sugar as close as possible to normal levels
  • Do leg exercises to improve circulation
  • Wear loose socks
  • Never go barefoot
  • Buy comfortable closed-toe shoes
  • Inspect feet daily for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness or sore toenails
  • Have your doctor, a friend or family member test your nerve function with a monofilament (insert link)
  • Moisturize the heels and soles of your feet; avoid moisturizing between the toes. This will help prevent cracks, which can become infected.
  • See a podiatrist regularly to catch problems early

Resources:

  • Click here for DFM’s foot Care brochure.
  • Click here for tips to Keep Your Feet and Skin Healthy.
  • To get a free monofilament for testing neuropathy, click here.