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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

Diabetes Complications: What's Your Risk?

Heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputation, kidney failure. When doctors describe these diabetes complications, it may sound melodramatic -- like an overblown worst-case scenario. The truth is, these things can happen when blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol are out of control. "A lot of people don't really think it will happen to them," says David C. Ziemer, MD, director of the Diabetes Clinic at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. "For a lot of folks, the wake-up comes when they actually...

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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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