Your Diabetic Patients Need Your Help

I will never forget a statement that was made by financial expert Regina Lewis on the TV show ‘The View’ a few years ago.  She was speaking on industries with growing job markets. She included dental hygiene in the segment and stated that dental hygienists do not need a college degree.

She said ‘All I care about is that my hygienist knows that this instrument goes on that tooth’.

I am not easily offended but her statements were demeaning. Not to mention that the job market is pretty tough for many hygienists right now. I mean do they not check their facts before going on national television? (Remember this when you depend on network media for important information…I’ll stop now).

But it got me thinking. There are always two sides to every story and while I don’t like their side, maybe Regina Lewis has not experienced a hygienist who has educated her on her oral cancer risk or the oral-systemic link. Or maybe she has…

I want to give you a resource this week to help you and your team step into your role as part of your patients’ healthcare team. Scroll down for a BIG (yet simple) step toward helping your diabetic patients today…


hba1cIt’s been well documented that Diabetes and Periodontal Disease have a two-way relationship. If periodontal disease is active it makes it harder to control diabetes and vice versa. There’s also mounting evidence that active perio disease increases a diabetic’s risk for major health events like heart attack and kidney failure.

So…this is the perfect opportunity for you as a dental professional (whether you are in a clinical or administrative role) to play a very important role in your patients’ ability to manage their overall health.

ALWAYS ask your diabetic patients this question:

What was your last HbA1c level?

The HbA1c number is the primary indicator of diabetic control. It is a ‘snapshot’ of blood sugar control over several months. Diabetic patients should know their A1c numbers and if they don’t, that may be a sign they are not as focused on their health as they could be.

As you see in this chart (you can find it by searching Google Images for ‘HbA1c chart’) the desired level is 6.5 or lower. Uncontrolled perio disease can have a direct effect on the HbA1c levels and how well diabetics control their disease. AND a higher HbA1c level makes it harder to control perio disease too.

Action step:

Find the above image, print it out and use it when talking to diabetic patients. You can use it when discussing perio and/or diabetes with your patients. Use it with patients who have a family history of diabetes and those that have diabetic family members.

Imagine how this conversation will show your patients that you are a well-educated, concerned member of their healthcare team and focused on more than just cleaning their teeth.

PS-for a fun parody and response to The View’s segment check out AndyRDH’s video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7ikF3-qKew

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3 comments on “Your Diabetic Patients Need Your Help
  1. Jordan says:

    This is an incredibly important post! Diabetes isn’t just an issue for their general practitioners, every health professional should help diabetic patients with their health. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. I totally agree with what Jordan said. People with diabetes should receive help from all their health professionals. This was a well written and informative post.

  3. Rachel says:

    thank you both! This is the #1 thing we must ask all our diabetic patients

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