Diabetes and Oral Health

More than 280 people are diagnosed with diabetes every day and that number is increasing.

The total annual cost of diabetes across the nation is $14.6 billion!!! There are up to 2 million people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Common health impacts of diabetes are-

  • Eye problems

  • Problems with circulation in the feet and lower leg that can lead to amputations

  • Nerve damage

  • …..and dental problems


Dental problems associated with diabetes are-

  • Dry mouth, and thirst can be one of the first signs of diabetes

  • Increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease

  • More frequent gum infections and dental abscesses

  • Oral thrush and mouth ulcers

Poor glucose control makes all of these problems worse and the presence of dental infections or gum disease can make glucose control difficult. The simple act of removing an infected tooth or treating a gum infection can help to stabilise blood sugars that have been affected.

So what can you do?

Managing diabetes can be exhausting! Monitoring your diet, checking your blood sugars, ensuring your blood pressure is not creeping up, checking your feet, the list goes on…

Research has shown that having a team around you to provide ongoing support can help with management of the disease. This support can be from you GP,  a diabetes educator or the practice nurse, a dietitian, friends or family who also have diabetes, and these days on-line resources and blogs.

The great thing is, there is another healthcare provider who is able to assist you on this journey- your dental professional.

Your dentist or oral health professional is another person on your diabetes management team.

  • They have knowledge of the signs to look out for in the mouth and can discuss how your diabetes is impacting your oral health.

  • You see them regularly and have a great on-going relationship with someone you can trust.

  • They can support and motivate you to maintain good dietary and healthy habits to help you stay on track.

  • They can work with your other health providers by communicating your progress with them if necessary.

A good starting point with some basic tips...

  1. Ensure you have good oral health habits, brushing and cleaning in between your teeth every day with a fluoride toothpaste.

  2. Maintain good glucose control- this will help your gums

  3. Drink plenty of water AND...

  4. See a dentist regularly that understands the link between diabetes and oral health


Kimberley Hayllar