Dental Problems and Diabetes

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on December 01, 2019

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.

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. Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash daily. 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


SOURCE: American Diabetes Association: "Diabetes and Oral Health Problems."

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