Dental Complications

People with diabetes may experience tooth and gum problems because of high blood sugar in the saliva, which promotes the growth of bacteria in the mouth and could lead to gum disease. Have your teeth and gums checked twice a year and inform your dentist of your diabetes.

Recognizing Symptoms of Dental Problems

See your dentist if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Red, sore, or swollen gums

  • Bleeding gums

  • Gums pulling away from the teeth making them appear "longer"

  • Loose or sensitive teeth

  • Bad breath

  • A bite that feels different

  • Dentures that do not fit well

Communicating With Your Dentist

Here are a few topics to discuss with your dentist:

  • Tell your dentist that you have diabetes.

  • If your dentist tells you about a problem, take care of it right away.

  • If you are having specific dental work done, ask your dentist if any special procedures should be followed in regards to your medication or meals.


  • Keep your blood sugar within your target zone.

  • Brush your teeth after each meal or snack with a soft toothbrush.

  • Floss your teeth after each meal or snack by using a sawing motion between the teeth and scraping from the base upwards.

  • If you wear false teeth, keep them clean.

  • Talk to your dental hygienist about proper tooth and gum care.

  • Let your dentist know you have diabetes prior to any dental work.


The BD Diabetes Learning Center describes the causes of diabetes, its symptoms, and diabetes complications such as retinopathy and neuropathy. This site contains detailed information about blood glucose monitoring, insulin injection and safe sharps disposal. Interactive quizzes, educational literature downloads and animated demonstrations help to teach diabetes care skills.

Important Note: The content of this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Do not disregard your doctor's advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this website.

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