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Diabetes and Dental Disease Anterior view of teeth and gums afflicted with periodontitis. Formation of plaque on the teeth Tooth and gum problems can happen to anyone. A sticky film full of germs, called plaque, builds up on your teeth. High blood glucose helps germs, also called 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. These problems can lead to periodontitis. 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:
red, sore, swollen gums
gums pulling away from your teeth so your teeth look long
loose or sensitive teeth
a bite that feels different
dentures—false teeth—that do not fit well Source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. diabetes.niddk.nih.gov LifeART Collection Images Copyright © 1989-2001 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD