How Does Diabetes Affect the Mouth?
People who have diabetes know the disease can harm the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in
the body. Did you know diabetes can also cause problems in your mouth?
People with diabetes are at special risk for periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gum and bone that hold
the teeth in place. Periodontal disease can lead to painful chewing difficulties and even tooth loss. Dry mouth, often
a symptom of undetected diabetes, can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Smoking makes these problems
What can I do?
Good blood glucose control is key to controlling and preventing mouth problems. People with poor blood glucose control
get gum disease more often and more severely than people whose diabetes is well controlled. Daily brushing and flossing,
regular dental check-ups and good blood glucose control are the best defense against the oral complications of diabetes.
Diabetes: Dental Tips
Diabetes can cause serious problems in your mouth.
If you have diabetes, make sure you take care of your mouth. People with diabetes are at risk for mouth infections, especially
periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease can damage the gum and bone that hold your teeth in place and may lead
to painful chewing problems. Some people with serious gum disease lose their teeth. Periodontal disease may also make
it hard to control your blood glucose (blood sugar).
Other problems diabetes can cause are dry mouth and a fungal infection called thrush. Dry mouth happens when you
do not have enough saliva—the fluid that keeps your mouth wet. Diabetes may also cause the glucose level in your saliva
to increase. Together, these problems may lead to thrush, which causes painful white patches in your mouth.
If your diabetes is not under control, you are more likely to develop problems in your mouth. The good news is
you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. By controlling your blood glucose, brushing and flossing every day, and visiting
a dentist regularly, you can help prevent serious problems in your mouth.
Take steps to keep your mouth healthy. Call us when you notice a problem.
If you have diabetes, follow these steps:
- Control your blood glucose.
- Brush and floss every day.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes.
- Tell your dentist if your dentures (false teeth) do not fit right, or if your gums are sore.
- Quit smoking. Smoking makes gum disease worse. Your physician or dentist can help you quit.
Take time to check your mouth regularly for any problems. Sometimes people notice that their gums bleed when they brush
and floss. Others notice dryness, soreness, white patches, or a bad taste in the mouth. All of these are reasons to
visit your dentist.
Remember, good blood glucose control can help prevent mouth problems.