What are the best oral care products for someone with diabetes?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that diabetics use a soft-bristled brush with rounded ends. According to the ADA, soft bristles are "less likely to hurt your gums." Some people even use an extra-soft bristled brush. They also recommend that the best way to use the brush is to angle it at 45 degrees right up against the gum line and use gentle, small strokes back and forth on both the front and back sides of your teeth and the gums themselves. Brushing the top of the tongue can also improve your breath by removing germs that tend to congregate there. Because the bristles wear out and bend over time, it's best to get a new brush after 3 or 4 months.

Unless your diabetes doctor instructs you otherwise, look for a toothpaste that contains fluoride and is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). There are many different types of toothpastes available. Toothpaste can have different functions such as to improve gum health, reduce plaque or to whiten stained teeth. The toothpaste you select is for your personal usage, so spoil yourself and find the type you like best. You may have sensitive teeth and need a toothpaste to help with sensitivity. Or you may want a whitening toothpaste or a toothpaste that removes plaque. You may have to try several types of toothpaste to find the right taste and texture. Then you need to use the toothpaste twice a day for brushing your teeth. Be sure to floss once a day, too.

You can likely select from the different types of mouthwashes available at your local grocery store. Some mouthwashes only give you a good taste in your mouth for the time you use it; others mask breath odor temporarily. If you have other needs such as mouthwash for dry mouth, a common condition with diabetes or mouthwash with fluoride in it, talk to your dentist. Your dentist can assess your dental health needs and help you select the best mouthwash to meet these needs. While you are choosing mouthwash, be sure to keep your mouthwash near your toothbrush as a personal care item—not one that you share with the family.

Always get the advice of your dental professional.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.