Diabetes Home > Diabetes Dental Care

People with diabetes can have tooth and gum problems more often if their blood glucose stays high, so good dental care is essential. An important aspect to dental care is informing the dentist that you have diabetes. Good dental care also includes maintaining good oral hygiene, seeing a dentist twice a year, and keeping your blood glucose within normal ranges.

Diabetes Dental Care: An Overview

Tooth and gum problems can happen to anyone. A sticky film full of germs (called plaque) builds up on your teeth. High blood glucose helps germs (bacteria) grow. Then you can get red, sore, and swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth.
People with diabetes can have tooth and gum problems more often if their blood glucose stays high. High blood glucose can make tooth and gum problems worse. You can even lose your teeth.
Smoking makes it more likely for you to get a bad case of gum disease, especially if you have diabetes and are age 45 or older.
Red, sore, and bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease. This can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is an infection in the gums and the bone that holds the teeth in place. If the infection gets worse, your gums may pull away from your teeth, making your teeth look long.
Call your dentist if you think you have problems with your teeth or gums.

Symptoms of Tooth or Gum Damage

If you have one or more of these problems, you may have tooth and gum damage from diabetes:
  • Red, sore, or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Gums pulling away from your teeth so that your teeth look long
  • Loose or sensitive teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • A bite that feels different
  • Dentures (false teeth) that do not fit well.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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