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Is gum disease a problem with diabetes?

Gum disease is a common problem among the 24 million Americans who are diabetic. Most diabetics are aware of co-occurring health conditions such as eye problems, neuropathy, heart disease and kidney disease. Yet many people with diabetes are surprised to learn that they are at high risk for gum and dental problems. Periodontal disease (gum disease) can cause inflammation, pain, bleeding, pus, bad breath, destruction of the bone and tooth loss.

To manage gum disease with diabetes, brush your teeth at least two or three times daily, two minutes each time. Floss your teeth once a day to remove all plaque, food and debris from the teeth and gums. Use a toothpaste that has fluoride and rinse your mouth after brushing. If gum disease is treated early, you can manage the problem just as you manage other areas of your health. Yet if gum disease is ignored, it can lead to unnecessary pain, suffering and tooth loss.

Talk openly with your dentist for more tips on how to prevent problems associated with diabetes.

Carol Jahn
Dentist

Yes, when you have diabetes you are much more likely to have gum disease, especially if you have a hard time controlling your blood sugar. Make sure you have a good relationship with a dental practice—they can advise you on how often you should see them for a cleaning and exam; generally based on your oral health and diabetic status. Be meticulous with your brushing and clean between your teeth every day. One product that has been tested and found to help people with diabetes improve gum health is a Water Flosser. People with diabetes who used one had 44 percent less bleeding.

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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.