Why is flossing your teeth so important with diabetes?

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Carol Jahn
Dentist

People with diabetes are at greater risk for gum disease. In between the teeth, where flossing cleans is generally the first place gum disease starts. So, if you have diabetes, and you don't floss, you are likely to develop gum disease. The good news is that if you don't like dental floss or find it challenging to use, there are other products that work as well. These include toothpicks, interproximal brushes, and a Water Flosser. It is better to find a product you like and can easily use for effective cleaning rather than struggle with dental floss. Dental floss must be used correctly to be effective.

Flossing your teeth once a day is especially important if you have diabetes. People with diabetes have a greater risk for some oral health problems, including gum disease.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth. Flossing can help in removing plaque between the teeth that toothbrushes may not be able to reach. 

The earliest stage of gum disease is still reversible and treatable with good oral health habits that include flossing daily, brushing twice daily and seeing your dentist for regular cleanings.
Good dental health is vital to prevent more serious dental problems that are common with diabetes. Brushing and flossing your teeth help to remove the plaque bacteria that cause decay, gingivitis and periodontitis. While cavities can happen at any age, people with diabetes are also susceptible to periodontal disease. When this occurs, you will have inflammation, redness, pain, pus between the teeth, bone destruction and finally tooth loss. Taking steps to prevent these problems is possible if you make good dental care a daily routine. Flossing helps remove food and debris from between the teeth. Flossing is a habit -- just like brushing your teeth. After you floss, it's important to rinse your mouth with clean water. You may use a mouthwash or other rinse that your dentist has recommended at this time. If you have problems flossing your teeth, ask your dentist for tips. 

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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.