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31 Mar

How Can Diabetes Hurt Our Teeth And Gums?

Tooth and gum problems can happen to anyone. A sticky film full of germs (also 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.

How do I know if I have damage to my teeth and gums?

If you have one or more of these problems, you may have tooth and gum damage from diabetes:

  • 1. Red, sore, swollen gums
  • 2. Bleeding gums
  • 3. Gums pulling away from your teeth so your teeth look long
  • 4. Loose or sensitive teeth
  • 5. Bad breath
  • 6. A bite that feels different
  • 7. Dentures (false teeth) that do not fit well

*This is an abridged version of an article from Colgate

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