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Diabetes and Oral Health

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 worse.

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.

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This page last updated: February 08, 2013