The risk of having gum disease

MORGANTOWN — People with diabetes are more susceptible to develop serious gum disease, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

What’s more, serious gum disease may have the potential to adversely affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

This data makes Aetna Better Health of West Virginia’s new Diabetes Oral Health program, for members who have Type 2 diabetes, critically important and vital.

Aetna created the Diabetes Oral Health program using evidence-based clinical literature that supports the correlation between maintaining good oral health and improving the overall health of people with diabetes.

“Oral health is important for everyone, but especially patients with diabetes,” said Dr. Dan Carrier, Monongalia County Health Department (MCHD) Dentistry’s dentist. “As with many diseases, prevention is critical. Timely dental cleanings and checkups help to greatly reduce the oral and systemic complications from diabetes.”

Diabetes Oral Health program payment is accepted at MCHD Dentistry, the full-service dental practice at Monongalia County Health Department.

According to information sent out by Aetna Better Health of West Virginia, the health plan will be offering a limited “value-add” dental benefit to a select group of adult members.

Criteria includes that members be 21 years old and older with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and that they come from select counties, including Monongalia. They also must be identified on a prior authorization form and be considered “high risk” for at least one reason, which may include potential complications from the lack of regular dental checkups.

Research suggests that people with diabetes are at higher risk for a host of other oral health problems, such as gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease, as well as periodontitis, or serious gum disease, according to the American Dental Association.

People with diabetes are at increased risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.

This is why it is especially important for people with diabetes to follow dental routines that are recommended for everyone, including brushing teeth twice a day with toothpaste that carries the American Dental Association seal of approval; flossing at least once a day; and visiting the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings every six months.

In addition to following these steps, the ADA recommends controlling your blood glucose level and to let your dentist and hygienist know about any change in your condition and your medication, and to postpone any non-emergency dental procedures if your blood sugar is not under control.

MCHD Dentistry offers comprehensive exams, dental cleanings, oral cancer screenings, fluoride treatments, dental sealants, digital X-rays, dental education, custom night guards and Invisalign tooth straightening.

In addition to Medicaid, MCHD Dentistry accepts private insurance, CHIP, CareCredit, cash and credit cards. There is also a sliding fee discount for patients without insurance as well as a new patient special of $150 for a dental cleaning, thorough checkup and X-rays.

To make an appointment at MCHD Dentistry or to find out more about Aetna Better Health of West Virginia’s Diabetes Oral Health program, call 304-598-5108.

For more information on MCHD, check out monchd.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @WVMCHD for up-to-date information on health and safety.

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