Diabetes and Gum Disease

Published Online: Sunday, June 1, 2003
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Studies are showing that if diabetics? blood sugar is out of control, they are more likely to develop tooth and gum disease. The high sugar levels in the mouth help harmful germs to grow and can lead to periodontal disease.

Researchers from the University at Buffalo found that even when participants who had high rates of both diabetes and gum disease lost all their teeth, their blood sugar levels did not fall. The researchers discovered that the toothless participants had equal to or higher blood sugar levels, compared with participants with severe gum disease who still had their teeth. These results underscore the importance of prevention and early treatment of gum disease in people at risk for diabetes. Here are suggestions from dental experts on how patients with diabetes can take care of their teeth:

  • Brush the teeth at least 2 times a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste
  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush
  • Use floss at least once a day to remove plaque between teeth
  • Have regular dental examinations
  • Notify the dentist if the gums are bleeding or swelling, or if teeth become loose

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