People with diabetes can have tooth and gum problems more often if their blood glucose stays high. High blood glucose can make tooth and gum problems worse. You can even lose your teeth.
Smoking makes it more likely for you to get a bad case of gum disease, especially if you have diabetes and are age 45 or older.
If you have one or more of these problems, you may have tooth and gum damage from diabetes:
● red, sore, swollen gums
● bleeding gums
● gums pulling away from your teeth so your teeth look long
● loose or sensitive teeth
● bad breath
● a bite that feels different
● dentures—false teeth—that do not fit well
How can I keep my teeth and gums healthy?
● Keep your blood glucose as close to normal as possible.
● Use dental floss at least once a day. Flossing helps prevent the buildup of plaque on your teeth. Plaque can harden and grow under your gums and cause problems. Using a sawing motion, gently bring the floss between the teeth, scraping from bottom to top several times.
● Brush your teeth after each meal and snack. Use a soft toothbrush. Turn the bristles against the gum line and brush gently. Use small, circular motions. Brush the front, back, and top of each tooth.
● If you wear false teeth, keep them clean.
● Call your dentist right away if you have problems with your teeth and gums.
● Call your dentist if you have red, sore, or bleeding gums; gums that are pulling away from your teeth; a sore tooth that could be infected; or soreness from your dentures.
● Get your teeth cleaned and your gums checked by your dentist twice a year.
● If your dentist tells you about a problem, take care of it right away.
● Be sure your dentist knows that you have diabetes.
● If you smoke, talk with your doctor about ways to quit smoking.
More information about diabetes and your oral health is available from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.