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Dental Problems and Diabetes

People with poorly controlled diabetes are at greater risk for dental problems.

They're more likely to have infections of their gums and the bones that hold their teeth in place, because diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the gums.

Recommended Related to Diabetes

Does Prediabetes Lead to Diabetes?

In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our January-February 2011 issue, we asked WebMD's diabetes expert, Michael Dansinger, MD, to answer a question about the link between prediabetes and diabetes. Q: At my last checkup, my doctor told me I have prediabetes. Does that mean I'll ultimately develop diabetes? A: Almost everyone who develops type 2 diabetes develops prediabetes first. But not everyone who has prediabetes...

Read the Does Prediabetes Lead to Diabetes? article > >

High blood sugar may also cause dry mouth and make gum disease worse. Less saliva can allow more tooth-decaying bacteria and plaque buildup.

With good blood sugar control and dental care, you can avoid these problems.

Symptoms to Watch for

You should call your dentist if you:

  • Have bleeding or sore gums
  • Get infections often
  • Have bad breath that won't go away

Prevent Problems

Take good care of your gums and teeth. Brush and floss at least twice a day. Get a dental checkup every 6 months. Let your dentist know that you have diabetes.

Keep your blood sugar under control.

If you smoke, quit.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on January 10, 2016
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