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People With Diabetes Are at a Higher Risk For Gum Disease

How Does Diabetes Affect the Mouth? People who have diabetes know the disease can harm their eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body. Did you know diabetes can also cause problems in your mouth? People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease. People who have diabetes are about three times more likely to develop gum disease than people without diabetes. Gum disease (periodontal disease) is an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. Gum disease can lead to painful chewing difficulties, loose teeth and eventually tooth loss. Dry mouth, often a symptom of diabetes, can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Smoking makes these problems worse.

What can you do? Good blood glucose control is key to controlling and preventing mouth problems. People with poor blood glucose control get gum disease more often and more severely than people whose diabetes is well controlled. Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental check-ups and good blood glucose control are the best defense against any oral complications of diabetes.

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.

  • Quit smoking. Smoking makes gum disease worse and slows the healing process.

  • 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.

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