Islets of Hope complications of diabetes
Edited by Lahle Wolfe
NIH Publication 03-4280 (edited for content)
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Managing Your Blood Glucose
More information about taking care of diabetes
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
More Diabetes Information
To find a diabetes teacher near you, call the American Association of Diabetes Educators toll-free at 1800TEAMUP4 (18008326874), or look on the Internet and click on "Find a Diabetes Educator."
To find a dietitian near you, call the American Dietetic Association
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is part of the National Institutes of Health. To learn more about tooth and gum problems, write or call NIDCR's information clearinghouse, the National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse (NOHIC), at 1 NOHIC Way, Bethesda, MD 208923500, 3014027364; or Click Here.
Preventing Diabetes Problems
Tooth and gum problems can happen to anyone. A sticky film full of germs (called plaque [PLAK]) builds up on your teeth. High blood glucose helps germs (bacteria) grow. Then you can get red, sore, and swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth.
People with diabetes can have tooth and gum problems more often if their blood glucose stays high. High blood glucose can make tooth and gum problems worse. You can even lose your teeth.
Smoking makes it more likely for you to get a bad case of gum disease, especially if you have diabetes and are age 45 or older.
Red, sore, and bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease. This can lead to periodontitis (PER-ee-oh-don-TY-tis). Periodontitis is an infection in the gums and the bone that holds the teeth in place. If the infection gets worse, your gums may pull away from your teeth, making your teeth look long.
If you have one or more of these problems, you may have tooth and gum damage from diabetes:
Your dentist can help you take care of your teeth and gums by:
Plan ahead. You may be taking a diabetes medicine that can make your blood glucose too low. This very low blood glucose is called hypoglycemia. If so, talk to your doctor and dentist before the visit about the best way to take care of your blood glucose during the dental work. You may need to bring some diabetes medicine and food with you to the dentist's office.
If your mouth is sore after the dental work, you might not be able to eat or chew for several hours or days. For guidance on how to adjust your normal routine while your mouth is healing, ask your doctor:
Page Updated 03/23/2006