Diabetes and Dental Health; What you need to know

Diabetes and Dental Health; What you need to know

Diabetes is a serious condition affecting over 9.4% of the U.S population, with over 23.1 million people diagnosed in 2017. Diabetes affects the body’s ability to use or make insulin; as a result the blood sugar is higher than normal, which often leads to complicated health issues.

People with diabetes are also 3 to 4 times more likely to develop periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, also called ‘gum disease’ that can cause teeth and gums to weaken, resulting in tooth loss. This is because of the bacteria present in your mouth that thrives on the extra sugar in your blood and produces acid thus increasing chances of tooth decay, gum disease, and sensitivity.


If you have contracted periodontal disease, then you must get it treated as quickly as possible because diabetes can worsen this condition. To do this, you must be aware of the symptoms of this disease:

  • Red, swollen gums that may feel tender or bleed when brushing or flossing your teeth.
  • The distance between gums and teeth is visible and exposed roots.
  • Heavy deposits of plaque in the gaps between the teeth.
  • Pus in the gum area or in gaps between teeth.
  • Foul smelling breath.

After you have developed a gum disease, it can be more difficult to fight it because diabetes reduces the ability of your body to fight with infection. This is why the best approach is to proactively prevent damage to your gums.


The first step is to control blood sugar levels and a serious dental care regime. Let your dental care provider know about this condition and any medication you are on so that your treatment can be personalized. Your dentist will recommend an antibiotics course to treat periodontal disease but there are some daily practices that can help avoid this and prevent it from re-occurring.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day.
  • Use a small toothbrush to remove plaque from between your teeth (preferably before brushing).
  • Exercise and eat a balanced diet to treat your low blood sugar as this corresponds to gum disease.
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Don’t substitute brushing your teeth with mouthwash as it doesn’t do much to remove plaque.
  • Don’t drink anything other than water after brushing your teeth at night.
  • Use a timer to make sure you brush for 2 minutes every night.
  • Be sure to follow all the instructions of your dentist to treat gum disease for better sugar control.
  • A fluoride mouthwash can also help with issues like ‘dry mouth’, common in diabetics.
  • Avoid spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Give up Smoking

Regular Dental Visits

It is important to schedule regular dental visits because your dentist can usually tell when you are at a higher risk for gum disease and prescribe treatment before the problem escalates. They can also guide you regarding care and dental hygiene along with specialized medication in case of gum disease. For dental services in Bethesda, a great choice is Bethesda Dental Health known for their family friendly practice and wide range of cosmetic and dental procedures from dental veneers, fillings and implants to advanced treatments like Invisalign and sinus augmentation.


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