Oral Health & Hygiene

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Diabetes and Your Oral Health
user icon in granite grey coloe
1 Jun

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Living with diabetes can be challenging, and it can have impacts on various aspects of your health, including your oral health. This blog post will delve into the relationship between diabetes and oral health, providing practical tips to maintain a healthy mouth and smile.

The Impact of Diabetes on Oral Health

Diabetes can lead to several oral health problems. One of the most common issues is dry mouth. Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but it can also increase your risk of developing other oral health problems like cavities, bad breath, a sore tongue or throat, and difficulties in chewing, speaking, or swallowing[^1^]. If you wear dentures, dry mouth can cause them to slip and rub, increasing your risk of getting mouth sores.

Tips to Relieve Dry Mouth

If you're experiencing dry mouth, there are several strategies you can try:

  • Sip water or sugarless drinks that do not contain caffeine.
  • Suck (not chew) on ice chips.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy to stimulate salivary flow.

Avoiding certain things might also help relieve dry mouth. For example, try cutting out salty or spicy foods, alcoholic or caffeine-containing beverages, and tobacco.

Preventing Cavities

Dry mouth can increase your risk of developing cavities. Good oral hygiene can help reduce this risk. Here are some key tips to help fight cavities:

  • Brush twice a day for 2 minutes each time.
  • Use a toothpaste that has fluoride, which helps harden your teeth to protect against cavities.
  • Clean between your teeth once a day, using floss or another product designed for this purpose (for example, floss holders, small brushes, or water flossers).
  • Eat a healthy diet low in sugar.

Your dentist may also suggest additional fluoride treatments to reduce your risk of getting cavities.

Caring for Your Gums

Diabetes may increase your risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease may start as a swelling of your gums. You may also notice that your gums are red and bleed, especially when brushing or cleaning between your teeth. Left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss. Good oral hygiene, just like that used to fight cavities, may help keep your gums healthy.

To help prevent gum disease, you should also have professional cleanings at a dental office regularly. Advanced gum disease may require additional treatments.

Dealing with Thrush

People with diabetes may be at risk for getting an oral infection called thrush. This is a white coating that develops on the inside of your cheeks, tongue, or roof of your mouth[^2^]. If you wear full or partial dentures, poor oral hygiene (especially not cleaning the denture as directed), wearing your denture too long (for example, all day and while sleeping), or a poorly fitting denture can increase this risk.

If you notice signs of thrush, tell your dentist who may prescribe a medicine to help clear the infection.


If you have diabetes, it's crucial to inform your dentist. They can work with you to help keep your mouth healthy and monitor your oral health. With the right care and attention, you can maintain a healthy mouth and smile, even while managing diabetes.

Remember, managing diabetes is a team effort. Your dentist is an important part of that team. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings, along with your daily oral hygiene routine, can help keep your mouth healthy. If you notice any changes in your oral health, don't hesitate to reach out to your dentist. Early detection and treatment are key to preventing more serious oral health problems.

In addition to your oral health, it's also important to manage your diabetes through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and taking your prescribed medications. Regular check-ups with your doctor can help you keep your diabetes under control and prevent complications.

Living with diabetes can be challenging, but with the right care and attention, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle. Remember, your health is worth it!

For more information about diabetes and oral health, check out the resources available at ADAcatalog.org or MouthHealthy.org. These websites offer a wealth of information about various dental treatments and can help you make informed decisions about your oral health.