If I have diabetes, am I at risk for dental problems?

People with diabetes have a greater risk of developing gum (periodontal) disease, tooth decay, fungal infection and other problems with oral (mouth) health.

“Serious gum disease may also have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. It is therefore important for you to start and maintain a regular dental care routine,” says Dr Bee Yong Mong, Head, SingHealth Duke-NUS Diabetes Centre, and Senior Consultant, at the Department of Endocrinology​, Sin​gapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.

How can I help prev​ent dental problems associated with diabetes?

You can make sure your mouth stays healthy and pain-free with these simple steps.

Control blood sugar

First and foremost, control your blood sugar levels. Patients with poorly controlled blood glucose levels are more likely to develop gum disease and can lose more teeth than someone whose diabetes is well-controlled. Good blood sugar control can also help prevent or relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes.

Brush and floss regularly

  1. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and replace it every 3 months.
  2. Brush for at least 3 minutes with fluoride toothpaste.
  3. Brush at least 2 times a day, after each meal if you can.
  4. Floss at least once a day

Visit a dental professional

  1. Have your teeth checked by the dentist at least once a year
  2. Tell the dentist that you have diabetes, if your diabetes is controlled, and any medications you are taking

Alert your dentist or doctor if you notice any of the following:

  1. Bleeding, red or sore gums
  2. Gums that are pulling away from teeth
  3. Bad breath for a long period of time
  4. Loose or separating adult teeth
  5. A change in the way you bite
  6. Any mouth pain

Ref: O17