Diabetes and dental disease

Because of high blood glucose, people with diabetes are more likely to have problems with their teeth and gums. There’s a lot you can do to take charge and prevent these problems. Caring for your teeth and gums every day can help keep them healthy. Keeping your blood glucose in a healthy range is also important. Regular, complete dental care helps prevent dental disease.

Healthy teeth and gums depend on regular care and managing your blood glucose levels.

Signs of Dental Disease

Sore, swollen, and red gums that bleed when you brush your teeth are a sign of a dental problem called gingivitis. Another problem, called periodontitis, happens when your gums shrink or pull away from your teeth. Like all infections, dental infections can make your blood glucose go up.

Preventing Dental Problems

Keep Your Blood Glucose Under Control

High blood glucose can cause problems with your teeth and gums. Work with your health care team to keep your glucose levels as close to normal as you can.

Brush Your Teeth Often

Brush your teeth at least twice a day to prevent gum disease and tooth loss. Be sure to brush before you go to sleep. Use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. To help keep bacteria from growing on your toothbrush, rinse it after each brushing and store it upright with the bristles at the top. Get a new toothbrush at least every 3 months.

Floss Your Teeth Daily

Besides brushing, you need to floss between your teeth each day to help remove plaque, a film that forms on teeth and can cause tooth problems. Flossing also helps keep your gums healthy. Your dentist or dental hygienist will help you choose a good method to remove plaque, such as dental floss, bridge cleaners, or water spray. If you’re not sure of the right way to brush or floss, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for help.

Get Regular Dental Care

Get your teeth cleaned and checked at your dentist’s office at least once every 6 months. If you don’t have a dentist, find one or ask your health care provider for the name of a dentist in your community.

See your dentist right away if you have trouble chewing or any signs of dental disease, including bad breath, a bad taste in your mouth, bleeding or sore gums, red or swollen gums, or sore or loose teeth.

Give your dentist the name and telephone number of your diabetes health care provider. Each time you visit, remind your dentist that you have diabetes.

Plan dental visits so they don’t change the times you take your insulin and meals. Don’t skip a meal or diabetes medicine before your visit. Right after breakfast may be a good time for your visit.

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