Connecting Diabetes and Oral Health

Connecting Diabetes and Oral Health

The link between diabetes and oral health

More than 25 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Of those, seven million are actually unaware of their condition. To top it off, an estimated 79 million people have prediabetes, a condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.1

What do these statistics and diabetes have to do with oral health?

Research has found a strong connection between periodontal (gum) disease and diabetes. People with diabetes are not only more likely to have gum disease, but can have a more advanced stage of the condition than those without diabetes.1 It’s important to know that anyone is at risk, especially pregnant women who are at an increased risk for both gum disease and gestational diabetes due to a change in hormone levels.1,2

Unlike gum disease, diabetes is not always preventable. That’s why regular dental visits are necessary in helping those at risk for diabetes to become more aware of the risks and importance of maintaining good oral health. Proper care of the mouth, including treatment of gum disease, may even help people with diabetes achieve better blood sugar control.

Understanding the connection between diabetes and gum disease will help keep your oral and overall health in check.

People with diabetes can better manage their oral and overall health with these tips:

  • Schedule regular dental cleanings at a frequency recommended by your dentist to help eliminate the source of bacteria associated with gum disease.
  • Tell your dentist you have diabetes, and remind him or her of the status of your condition at each visit.
  • Share your doctor’s and dentist’s contact information so they can discuss proper treatment, should an issue arise.
  • Practice good oral health habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly and using a daily mouthwash.

This information is available for download as an oral health flier.

1 American Diabetes Association, web.
2 American Pregnancy Association, “Pregnancy and Swollen Gums (Also known as Pregnancy Gingivitis),” web.

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