Diabetes Oral Health Complications and Prevention
People with diabetes have a greater risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health problems says Dr Bee Yong Mong, Head, SingHealth Duke-NUS Diabetes Centre, and Senior Consultant, Department of Endocrinology, SGH.
Prevent dental problems
associated with diabetes by controlling your blood sugar, brushing and flossing regularly and visiting a dental professional.
If you have diabetes, are you 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,
Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the
How to help prevent dental problems associated with diabetes
You can make sure your mouth stays healthy and pain-free with these simple steps:
Control your blood glucose levelsFirst and foremost, control your blood glucose levels. Those 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 glucose control can also help prevent or relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes.
Brush and floss regularly
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every 3 months.
- Brush for at least 3 minutes with fluoride toothpaste.
- Brush at least 2 times a day after each meal if you can.
- Floss at least once a day.
Visit a dental professional
- Have your teeth checked by the dentist at least once a year.
- Inform the dentist you have diabetes, how your glucose control is, and the medications you are taking.
Alert your dentist or doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Bleeding, red or sore gums
- Gums that are pulling away from teeth
- Bad breath for a long period of time
- Loose or separating adult teeth
- A change in the way you bite
- Any mouth pain
See previous page to read about
diabetic foot complications and how to take care of your feet.
Read the next page for information on
recommended health screening for people with diabetes.