There are many health issues related to diabetes, including teeth and gum issues. If you have diabetes you need to be aware of how it can affect your body. There are simple ways you can prevent damage to your teeth and gums to help you avoid problems with gum diseases.

Gum Disease

Since diabetes may reduce blood supply to your gums, your likelihood of getting gum disease is greatly increased if you had dental problems before you were diagnosed with diabetes. Most people have heard of gingivitis and periodontitis which are the two types of gum diseases. The less serious is gingivitis but if it’s left untreated it can lead to periodontitis. Diabetes can reduce your protection from infection and make you at risk for gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums especially around the base of your teeth. Some symptoms of gingivitis are swollen or puffy gums, bleeding gums, bad breath, or receding gums. Consult your dental professional to delay further damage if you notice any of those symptoms. Periodontitis is what can happen if gingivitis is left untreated. It can damage soft tissue and ruin the bones that support your teeth. It can cause extensive damage to your teeth, including your teeth bite, changes to your jawbone or cause your teeth to loosen or fall out. Infection can take much longer to heal if you have diabetes since it slows your body’s ability to fight bacteria. In addition to that, periodontitis can raise blood sugar in your body which will make your diabetes harder to manage.

Other Symptoms

A common symptom of diabetes is dry mouth. You may notice this if you or someone you know has diabetes. It’s annoying but don’t ignore it because it could lead to other dental problems. If you notice dry mouth you may also have a dry tongue, dry cracked lips, difficulty chewing, swallowing or even talking. Some spicy or salty foods can cause dry mouth to worsen as well as caffeine, tobacco or alcohol. The problem of dry mouth can be reduced by avoiding these products. Your saliva may be reduced if you suffer from diabetes and that can make you more likely to get gum disease or cause tooth decay. Plaque and tartar are more likely to occur if you have less saliva in your mouth.


To fight gum disease, you need to practice good oral hygiene, especially if you have diabetes. These are common tips we are all probably aware of but need to be reminded of occasionally. Brushing your teeth is most important and flossing is equally important to avoid plaque buildup and remove any food fragments that can cause tooth decay. Remember to brush at least twice a day — especially before going to bed. To help control your diabetes, limit foods that are high in sugar to help with your oral health and diabetes. Dental checkups are important and be sure to advise your dentist if you have diabetes.  Two dental checkups per year are recommended to allow your dental professional to examine your mouth for any changes to your oral health.

Always discuss your concerns with your dentist. Follow his or her advice to achieve the results for a bright, happy, and healthy smile.

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About Tri-State Family Dentistry

Tri-State Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care possible. Being privately owned since 2009, we don’t experience the corporate pressure that other dental practices have to hit certain revenue numbers. You will never be ‘sold’ dentistry at Tri-State Family Dentistry. After we explain your treatment options, you can make your own decisions.