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Diabetes Health Center

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Dental Problems and Diabetes

People with poorly controlled diabetes are more susceptible to dental problems. They are more likely to have infections of their gums and the bones that hold the teeth in place, because diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the gums. In addition, high blood sugar may cause dry mouth and make gum disease worse. The decrease in saliva can cause an increase in tooth-decaying bacteria and plaque buildup.

When a person with diabetes has good blood sugar control, there's no increased risk of dental problems.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Getting Better Sleep When You Have Diabetes

In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our July/August 2012 issue, we asked WebMD's diabetes expert, Michael Dansinger, MD, about the link between diabetes and poor sleep. Q: I have diabetes, and I'm not sleeping well. Are the two related, and what can I do? A: Yes, people with diabetes often have reduced sleep quality and quantity. Sleep apnea, medications, lack of exercise, and abnormal glucose and hormone...

Read the Getting Better Sleep When You Have Diabetes article > >

What Are the Symptoms of Dental Problems in Diabetes?

If you have diabetes, symptoms of dental problems include bleeding and sore gums, frequent infections, and bad breath.

How Can I Prevent These Dental Problems?

To prevent dental problems if you have diabetes, taking good care of your gums and teeth is very important. Here are some tips for preventing dental problems:

  • Maintain good blood sugar control.
  • Tell your dentist that you have diabetes.
  • Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Have a dental checkup every six months.
  • If you smoke, quit.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on February 12, 2015

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