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Oral Health Tips For People With Diabetes

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The mouth is home to many types of bacteria. For people with diabetes, fluctuating blood sugar levels cause the body’s white blood cells to weaken and become unable to fight developing bacterial infections. It's important to practice good oral health habits with diabetes, as oral health has been linked to many other health conditions. Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry is a full-service Gainesville dentistry office, which provides quality dental care to people with diabetes. Contact our office today to schedule a dental exam!

Why Good Oral Hygiene Matters For Those With Diabetes

Controlling blood sugar levels helps protect against cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Generally, the higher your blood sugar level — regardless of type 1 or type 2 diabetes — the higher the risk of developing these common oral conditions.


Many types of bacteria exist in your mouth, whether or not you're eating or drinking. When the bacteria mix with food and/or drink, a layer of acids, commonly known as plaque, forms on your teeth. Unless plaque is removed it begins to wear away the enamel and dentin of the teeth. As the tooth weakens, it becomes more susceptible to cavity development.


Hardened plaque develops into tartar along the gumline, causing gingivitis or early gum disease. As plaque and tartar linger on the teeth and gum line, the gingiva — gums surrounding the base of the teeth — becomes irritated. In turn, gums tend to swell and bleed easily, such as when brushing your teeth or flossing.


Periodontitis, also called advanced gum disease, quickly becomes a serious condition among people with diabetes. This is because diabetes reduces a person's ability to fight infection and slows healing. As periodontitis progresses, the soft tissue and teeth-supporting jaw bone are destroyed. The teeth loosen and fall out as a result.

Oral Side Effects Of Diabetes

Diabetes affects every part of the body, including your oral health. Managing blood sugar levels and practicing good oral hygiene on a daily basis helps to prevent these common oral side effects of diabetes.


Thrush is a fungal infection that develops when the balance of candida fungus — yeast — in your mouth is disrupted. Uncontrolled diabetes and other medical conditions can cause the disruption, and a white rash found inside the mouth and a burning sensation on your tongue are common symptoms of thrush. Regular dental checkups with your Gainesville dentist can help prevent the development of thrush.

Dry Mouth

While dry mouth can occur because of many factors, it is a common side effect of diabetes. Symptoms of dry mouth include bad breath, dry and red tongue, and frequent thirst. Chronic dry mouth increases your risk of developing gum disease, oral infections, and tooth decay.

Everyday Dental Care Tips For Diabetes

  • Floss at least once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth and gum line, which can reduce your chance of developing gingivitis and periodontitis.
  • Stop smoking and/or using tobacco products. Any form of tobacco-use increases the risk of diabetes complications.
  • Commit to managing your diabetes. Following your doctor's instructions and monitoring blood sugar levels helps prevent damage to your gums and teeth.
  • Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste with fluoride at least twice a day. Be careful not to brush too vigorously, as this can cause gum irritation. If possible, brush after every meal.
  • Tell your dentist in Gainesville, FL, about bleeding, red, or swollen gums. These are common signs of gingivitis and other oral health issues. Your dentist will create a treatment plan to help prevent the recurrence of these oral issues.

Visit The Dentist Twice Annually

Another great way to practice good oral health habits with diabetes is to visit your dentist twice each year for a dental exam. At Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry, our dentists are well-equipped to meet the specific oral care needs of patients with diabetes. We create custom treatment plans for every patient and adjust the plan as necessary. To speak with a dentist Gainesville, FL, residents can rely on for high-quality dental care, contact Van Dyke General and Implant Dentistry today!