Health Blog

Importance of Great Oral Care with Diabetes

Diabetes can affect every part of the body, including your mouth. If you or someone you care for has diabetes you need to spend extra time and attention to maintain great oral health. Tooth and periodontal (gum) diseases are more common and serious for people with diabetes. Periodontal disease is a broad term used to describe various stages of disease that affect the gums and bone surrounding of the teeth. Periodontal disease can also make it harder for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar, however by taking better care of your oral health both periodontal disease and diabetes can improve.

Are you at higher risk for periodontal disease if you have diabetes?

  • Yes, when diabetes is not under control your mouth and your body’s germ-fighting powers are weakened.

What other oral health problems can develop if you have diabetes?

  • Diabetes also makes you prone to other mouth problems such as oral infections like thrush, dry mouth which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and cavities and poor wound healing.

What are the early warning signs of periodontal disease?

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Painful or tender gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Constant bad breath or taste
  • Pus between teeth and when gums are pressed
  • Gums pulling away from teeth

Should you tell your dentist and dental hygienist that you have diabetes?

  • Yes, people with diabetes have special needs. Keep your dentist and dental hygienist informed of any changes in your condition and any medication(s) you might be taking.

How can I keep my gums and teeth healthy to prevent and/or fight off periodontal disease?

  • Keep blood sugar as close to normal as possible. That means taking medications that were prescribed as directed. It also means keeping the amount of consumed carbs in check.
  • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss your teeth at least once every day.
  • See your dentist at least twice a year, or as often as your dentist recommends.

Remember, good dental care can result in a healthy mouth and a smile that will last a lifetime.

Alisha Walker
Bilingual Dental Referral Coordinator Team Lead at Cherry Street Health Center