How does diabetes cause problems with my teeth and gums?

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Carol Jahn
Dentist
People with diabetes are at an increased risk for gum disease. It is very important to visit your dental office at least twice a year (or more if recommended) for a dental exam and professional cleaning. You should also practice meticulous home care -- brushing twice daily and cleaning between your teeth once a day. One product that has been tested on people with diabetes and found to really help reduce bleeding and gingivitis is the Water Flosser. It has also been shown to be as effective as string dental floss.
If you have diabetes, you are at greater risk of developing some oral health problems. Because of lowered resistance and a longer healing process, gum disease appears to be more frequent and more severe among those with diabetes. Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

See your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better.

When you have poorly managed blood glucose levels, it can increase the risk of problems with your teeth and gums.  Also, a dry mouth is more common in diabetics and can increase the risk of tooth decay. Gingivitis (gum disease) and periodontitis (severe gum disease) can happen to anyone, but having diabetes increases the risk of these oral health problems. High blood sugar worsens dental problems with diabetes. If you smoke and have diabetes, you may develop a more serious form of gum disease. If you have diabetes, see your dentist for a thorough evaluation and then follow up daily with brushing, flossing and excellent oral home care.

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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.