Living with diabetes blog

Diabetes: Keep your teeth healthy

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N. November 10, 2011

Diabetes can cause changes in your mouth that affect the gums and oral tissues. Two common diseases of the mouth are:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis

These diseases begin with bacteria in the plaque on your teeth, which cause the gums to become red, swollen and bleed easily. If untreated, plaques spread and grow between the teeth and gums, forming pockets with toxins that cause the gums to separate from the teeth, leading to tooth loss.

Gingivitis is the milder form of the two gum diseases and is often related to poor oral care. Gingivitis is reversible with good oral care.

People with diabetes who have poor blood glucose control often have severe periodontal disease. Complicating the situation is that if you have diabetes, periodontal disease can make it more difficult to control your blood glucose. Also, if you have diabetes and periodontal disease, you're at significantly greater risk of heart and kidney disease.

What is good oral care?
To properly care for your teeth and help prevent problems:

  • See your dentist twice a year, and let him or her know you have diabetes.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Brush your tongue.
  • Floss daily.
  • Check for signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums, redness and swelling, and tell your dentist if you experience these.

Keep brushing and flossing, and have a good week.



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Nov. 10, 2011