What are diabetes problems?
Too much glucose in the blood for a long time
can cause diabetes problems. This high blood
glucose, also called blood sugar, can damage
many parts of the body, such as the heart, blood
vessels, eyes, and kidneys. Heart and blood
vessel disease can lead to heart attacks and
strokes. You can do a lot to prevent or slow
down diabetes problems.
High blood glucose can
cause tooth and gum problems.
This information is about the tooth and gum
problems caused by diabetes. You will learn what
you can do each day and during each year to stay
healthy and prevent diabetes problems.
What should I do each day to stay healthy
||Follow the healthy eating plan that
you and your doctor or dietitian have
||Be active a total of 30 minutes most
days. Ask your doctor what activities
are best for you.
||Take your medicines as directed.
||Check your blood glucose every day.
Each time you check your blood glucose,
write the number in your record book.
||Check your feet every day for cuts,
blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or
||Brush and floss your teeth every
||Control your blood pressure and
How can diabetes hurt my teeth and gums?
Tooth and gum problems can happen to anyone.
A sticky film full of germs, called
plaque, builds up on your
teeth. High blood glucose helps germs, also
called bacteria, grow. Then you can get red,
sore, and swollen gums that bleed when you brush
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.
Red, sore, and bleeding gums are the first
sign of gum disease. These problems can lead to
Periodontitis is an infection in the gums and
the bone that holds the teeth in place. If the
infection gets worse, your gums may pull away
from your teeth, making your teeth look long.
Call your dentist if you think you have
problems with your teeth or gums.
Check your teeth and gums
for signs of problems from diabetes.
How do I know if I have damage to my teeth
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
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.
Brush and floss your teeth
- If you wear false teeth, keep them
- 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
- If you smoke, talk with your doctor
about ways to quit smoking.
How can my dentist take care of my teeth and
Your dentist can help you take care of your
teeth and gums by
- cleaning and checking your teeth twice a
- helping you learn the best way to brush
and floss your teeth
- telling you if you have problems with
your teeth or gums and what to do about them
- making sure your false teeth fit well
Get your teeth cleaned and
checked twice a year.
Plan ahead. You may be taking a diabetes
medicine that can cause low blood glucose, also
Talk with your doctor and dentist before the
visit about the best way to take care of your
blood glucose during the dental work. You may
need to bring some diabetes medicine and food
with you to the dentist’s office.
If your mouth is sore after the dental work,
you might not be able to eat or chew for several
hours or days. For guidance on how to adjust
your normal routine while your mouth is healing,
ask your doctor
- what foods and drinks you should have
- how you should change your diabetes
- how often you should check your blood