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What's the best way to prevent gingivitis with diabetes?

Research shows that there is an increased prevalence of gum disease among those with diabetes. If plaque and tartar are not cleaned away, even gentle brushing can cause your gums to bleed. This is called gingivitis. It is the first stage of gum disease. You can fight gingivitis with:

  • daily good brushing and flossing habits
  • getting your teeth cleaned at least twice a year at your dentist's office

If you ignore gingivitis, the gum disease gets worse.

The best way for anyone to avoid gingivitis and periodontal disease is to maintain good oral hygiene at home and to schedule regular dental visits.  

While there is no conclusive research showing that gum disease raises the risk for diabetes or other conditions, studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with diabetes. However, saying that two conditions are associated is not the same as saying that one causes the other. It only means that some studies have shown that more people with gum disease experience one of the conditions mentioned above than people without gum disease. This finding could be the result of another factor, like smoking. For example, people who smoke are at higher risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer as well as gum disease.

Regular dental visits and deep cleanings are important to keeping gum disease under control. Good oral hygiene at home is also important to keeping periodontal disease from becoming more serious or from coming back. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
If you have diabetes it is important to prevent gingivitis. This involves, getting rid of plaque each time you brush and floss your teeth. You should brush your teeth at least two or three times daily, two minutes each time. Be sure to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride for optimal cavity prevention. You should floss at least once a day to get rid of plaque and other debris between the teeth and the gums. If you have gingivitis, ask your dentist about special tools that you can purchase to remove deposits of plaque on the teeth. Ask the dental hygienist for tips on brushing and flossing your teeth to ensure they are clean and plaque-free.
 
Carol Jahn
Dentist

The best way to prevent gingivitis with diabetes is through regular dental visits and cleanings and thorough daily home care including cleaning between teeth every day. Very few home care products have been tested on people with diabetes. One that has is the Water Flosser. A study conducted at the University of Buffalo found that people with diabetes who added the Water Flosser to daily tooth brushing had 44% less bleeding and 42% less gingivitis than people with diabetes who used more traditional home care methods.

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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.