Do I need special dental care to prevent problems with diabetes?

If you have diabetes you are at greater risk of developing some oral health problems, but you should not require special care as long as your blood sugar is under control.

While regular dental visits for checkups and professional cleanings are important for everyone, if you have diabetes, be sure to tell your dentist as well as whether the disease is well controlled. You should also let the dentist know about any medications you are taking. Also, discuss any oral health problems you are having such as dry mouth.

Good oral care at home and regular visits to your dentist provide a solid foundation for maintaining a healthy smile. Talk with your dentist about your current health status and any oral health concerns you may have. Together you can develop a personalized oral health plan. 
Most of the time you won't need special dental care if your blood sugar levels are well-controlled. If your blood glucose is not controlled, your dentist may ask that you take antibiotics with any dental procedure that may increase the chance of an infection. For example, if you have gum surgery or a tooth implant, you may need antibiotics to prevent an infection. Before you have a dental procedure, you may need to drink juice or have glucose nearby in case your blood glucose levels drop. Glucose tablets are used frequently as are other carbohydrates to keep blood sugar steady before, during and after a dental procedure. After the dental procedure, you can go back on your regular diabetes eating plan to make sure your blood sugar stays stable. If you are unable to do this because of the dental procedure and/or tooth pain, ask your diabetes doctor for advice in what to eat.

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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.