If you have diabetes, make sure you take care of your mouth. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for mouth infections, especially periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease can damage the gum and bone that hold your teeth in place and may lead to painful chewing problems. Some people with serious gum disease lose their teeth. Periodontal disease may also make it hard to control your blood glucose (blood sugar).
Other problems diabetes can cause are dry mouth and a fungal infection called thrush. Dry mouth happens when you do not have enough saliva—the fluid that keeps your mouth wet. Diabetes may also cause the glucose level in your saliva to increase. Together, these problems may lead to thrush, which causes painful white patches in your mouth.
You can keep your teeth and gums healthy by controlling your blood glucose, brushing and flossing every day, and visiting a dentist regularly. If your diabetes is not under control, you are more likely to develop oral health problems.
Take steps to keep your mouth healthy. Call your dentist when you notice a problem.
If you have diabetes, follow these steps:
- Control your blood glucose
- Brush and floss every day
- Visit your dentist regularly. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes
- Tell your dentist if your dentures (false teeth) do not fit right, or if your gums are sore
- Quit smoking. Smoking makes gum disease worse. Your physician or dentist can help you quit
Take time to check your mouth regularly for any problems. Sometimes people notice that their gums bleed when they brush and floss. Others notice dryness, soreness, white patches, or a bad taste in the mouth. All of these are reasons to visit your dentist.
Remember, good blood glucose control can help prevent oral health problems.
High blood glucose can cause teeth and gum problems.
How do I know if I have damage to my teeth and gums?
If you have one or more of these problems, you may have teeth and gum damage from diabetes:
- red, sore, swollen gums
- bleeding gums
- gums pulling away from your teeth so your teeth look long
- loose or sensitive teeth
- bad breath
- a bite that feels different
- dentures-false teeth-that do not fit well
How can I keep my teeth and gums healthy?
Keep your blood glucose as close to normal as possible
Use dental floss at least once a day. Flossing helps prevent the build-up of plaque on your teeth. Plaque can harden and grow under your gums and cause problems. Using a sawing motion, gently bring the floss between the teeth, scraping from bottom to top several times Brush your teeth after each meal and snack. Use a soft toothbrush. Turn the bristles against the gum line and brush gently. Use small, circular motions. Brush the front, back, and top of each tooth
What If I wear False teeth?
If you wear false teeth, keep them clean
Call your dentist right away if you have problems with your teeth and gums
Call your dentist if you have red, sore, or bleeding gums; gums that are pulling away from your teeth; a sore tooth that could be infected; or soreness from your dentures
Get your teeth cleaned and your gums checked by your dentist twice a year
If your dentist tells you about a problem, take care of it right away
Be sure your dentist knows that you have diabetes
If you smoke, talk with your doctor about ways to quit smoking