How can I help prevent dental problems associated with diabetes?

First and foremost, control your blood glucose level. Then take good care of your teeth and gums, along with regular dental check-ups every six months.

Have a dental checkup every six months, or as often as indicated by a professional. Tell your dentist or hygienist that you have diabetes and any other medical condition.

Brush for two minutes a day with a toothpaste with an antigingival/antibacterial ingredient to help prevent gingivitis and one that accepted by the American Dental Association.

Contact your dentist or hygienist if you experience any of these signs of gum disease:

  • Gums that bleed or are red, puffy or swollen, or sore
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Pus that appears between your teeth and your gums
  • Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

Individuals with diabetes must monitor their sugar intake very carefully to make sure they keep balanced blood sugar levels. If diabetics fail to follow their recommended diabetic diet, their blood glucose levels can spike causing a variety of complications. Some of the complications that diabetes can cause include oral health problems. Without proper oral hygiene, plaque can build up leading to conditions like gum disease, fungal infection, or cavities.

To stay well with diabetes and prevent oral health problems, you should stay on the healthy diet your doctor or diabetes educator provided for you. Be sure to check your blood sugar frequently and keep track of your numbers to show your doctor. Get regular physical exercise, aiming for 30 minutes of exercise and activity most days. This will help you manage your blood sugar levels. Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Also floss at least once daily. Be sure to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride to get the most dental protection.

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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.