How Does Diabetes Affect your Oral Health?
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.
To learn more about diabetes and oral health, please see:
Publications in Spanish
- Diabetes: Consejos sobre salud oral
- Spanish version of Diabetes: Dental Tips. A concise patient handout that describes warning signals of oral health problems as well as practical information for preventing the periodontal complications of diabetes.
- Cómo prevenir los problemas de la diabetes: Mantenga sanos los dientes y las encías
- Spanish version of Prevent Diabetes Problems–Keep your Teeth and Gums Healthy.
- Working Together to Manage Diabetes: A Guide for Pharmacy, Podiatry, Optometry and Dentistry
- A guidebook from the National Diabetes Education Program that outlines the diabetes care issues of these four professions so they can better recognize symptoms that might warrant referral, reinforce annual screening recommendations, or contribute to a proactive approach to diabetes care beyond the scope of their particular disciplines.
- Diabetes and Teeth
- Diabetes and Periodontal Disease
News Releases and Articles
- Study Finds Tooth Eruption Accelerated in Kids with Diabetes (June 2008)
- Study Evaluates Periodontal Disease Contributing to Diabetes Risk (May 2008)
- The Inside Scoop: Looking at the Periodontal-Systemic Disease Connection (July 2005)
- No Association Found Between Amalgam Fillings and Diabetic Neuropathy (March 2005)
- Diabetes and Oral Health: Treating the Patient with Diabetes Mellitus This external link provides additional information that is consistent with the intended purpose of the NIDCR site.,
A special issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association that includes an article written by NIDCR staff. Also includes information on diabetes diagnosis and management, the influence of diabetes on periodontal (gum) tissues, the effect of periodontal treatment on diabetes, and how to lower the risk of developing diabetes and its complications.
Other Government Information
- MedlinePlus: Diabetes and Oral Health
- The National Library of Medicine’s compilation of links to government, professional and non-profit/voluntary organizations with information on diabetes and oral health.
- Dental Visits Among Dentate Adults with Diabetes — United States, 1999 and 2004
- This report, which was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides state-by-state estimates from the 2004 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System on the percentage of dentate adults with diabetes who reported having a dental visit during the previous year.
Related Oral Health Topics
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