American Diabetes Month: Why Latinos Need to Take Care of Their Mouths

Did you know oral health and diabetes go hand-in-hand? As part of Colgate’s new “Watch Your Mouth!” campaign, Karent Sierra, DDS, has joined the cause to spread knowledge to Latinos. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, the risk of diabetes in Latinos is high – especially for Puerto Ricans and Mexican-Americans. The risk of developing the disease is 87% higher for Mexican-Americans as compared to non-Hispanic whites, and nearly 94% higher for Puerto Ricans. Loca! 

People with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease, according to the CDC. High blood glucose levels impair the body’s ability to heal from oral infections, and uncontrolled diabetes can make treating gum disease more difficult, according to the American Diabetes Association.

More than half of U.S. Hispanics living with diabetes are worried about gum disease, but information on what to do about it is still needed. Two-thirds (66%) reported that they would benefit from receiving more information about the relationship between oral health and diabetes.

Ready to take care of your mouth? Here’s the gist:

Begin to develop healthy oral care habits, like brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly. Research shows that brushing twice a day with Colgate Total toothpaste can help improve gum health in as little as four weeks.

Don’t miss out on your favorite foods. Eat healthier versions that everyone in your family can enjoy. Making simple substitutions to most dishes can help increase nutritional value, while not sacrificing on taste.

Use the right tools. Stay organized with a journal large enough to keep your diet, exercise goals and health information together. Keep a week’s worth of prescriptions in one place with a handy pill case.

Visit the dentist. While your doctor and certified diabetes educator play important roles in helping with your diabetes, so does your dentist. If you don’t see a private-practice dentist, you can visit dental schools that provide services at a fraction of the cost—or sometimes for free—to watch your mouth and help improve oral health.

See the infographic below and for more expert tips and information, visit