People with diabetes are at special risk for periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gum and bone that that hold the teeth in place
How Does Diabetes Affect the Mouth?
Periodontal disease can lead to painful chewing difficulties and even tooth loss. Dry mouth, often a symptom of undetected diabetes, can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Smoking makes these problems worse.
Periodontal gum disease.
What can I do?
Good blood glucose control is key to controlling and preventing mouth problems. People with poor blood glucose control get gum disease more often and more severely than people whose diabetes is well controlled. Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental check-ups and good blood glucose control are the best defense against the oral complications of diabetes.
Proper dental care
To help prevent damage to your teeth and gums, take diabetes and dental care seriously:
- Make a commitment to manage your diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar level, and follow your doctor's instructions for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range. The better you control your blood sugar level, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis and other dental problems.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brush in the morning, at night and, ideally, after meals and snacks. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your gums. Get a new toothbrush at least every three months.
Floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth and under your gumline. If you have trouble getting floss through your teeth, use the waxed variety. If it's hard to manipulate the floss, use a floss holder.
Schedule regular dental visits. Visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and checkups.
Make sure your dentist knows you have diabetes. Every time you visit your dentist, remind him or her that you have diabetes. Make sure your dentist has contact information for your doctor who helps you manage your diabetes.
Look for early signs of gum disease. Report any signs of gum disease — including redness, swelling and bleeding gums — to your dentist. Also mention any other signs and symptoms, such as dry mouth, loose teeth or mouth pain.
Don't smoke. Smoking increases the risk of serious diabetes complications, including gum disease. If you smoke, ask your doctor about options to help you quit.
Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment, and that includes proper dental care. Your efforts will be rewarded with a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
A Healthy Mouth is a Happy Diabetic.