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Diabetes and Dental Health Go Hand in Hand


t know you have it until you have some serious damage. Be on the lookout for these warning signs:

  • Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose permanent teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Changes in the fit of partial dentures or a dental bridge

Other oral health problems common in people with diabetes include: thrush, an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth; dry mouth, which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and cavities; and a variety of oral infections, which are clusters of germs causing problems in one area of the mouth. It also takes people with diabetes longer to heal from oral surgery and other dental procedures.Dental Care for Diabetes

The No. 1 most important thing people with diabetes can do for their oral health is to keep their blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Gums stay healthy when the teeth around them are free of dental plaque and dental tartar. To keep your teeth and gums clean, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. If you wear dentures, remove and clean them every day.

Regular dental visits are your best weapon in the fight against gum disease. Only a professional dental cleaning can remove dental plaque and dental tartar. That’s why having your teeth and gums checked and cleaned by your dentist twice a year is so important. (Your dentist may recommend more frequent visits depending on the status of your diabetes.) At each dental visit, discuss your diabetes status (how well controlled your blood sugar is) and the medications you take.

It’s important for everyone to practice good oral hygiene, but even more so for people with diabetes. And keep an eye out for any changes in your oral health. If you notice anything, call your dentist right away. And if you haven’t seen a dentist in a while, now is the time to find one you’ll love.