Good Gum Care May Help Manage Diabetes

Good Gum Care May Help Manage Diabetes

If you have diabetes, it affects your whole body – including your mouth. Don’t skip regular dental checkups. Along with managing your blood sugar levels, dental care helps you keep both your body and mouth healthy.

Gum Disease and Blood Sugar Levels

Gum disease – also called periodontal disease – is a chronic bacterial infection. It  causes swelling that can hurt the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Research shows people with uncontrolled blood sugar levels are more likely to get advanced gum disease and lose teeth. Routine care to treat gum disease may help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar level.

When blood sugar levels are under control, it lowers the risk for other serious health issues. Along with diabetes, scientists have found links between gum disease and heart disease, stroke and high-risk pregnancy.

To help manage blood sugar levels, eat a balanced diet, take care of your mouth and see your dentist for regular exams. Be sure to tell your dentist about any changes in your health.

Know the Warning Signs

Gum disease has several warning signs. Watch for:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Bad breath

Talk to your dentist about your risks for gum disease. You and your dentist can work out a plan to keep your gums healthy.

Pay Attention to Prevention

Taking care of your teeth and gums each day pays off. Even if you get gum disease, stepping up your daily care and seeing your dentist can help.

Still, it’s easier to avoid gum disease in the first place. These healthy habits to keep it at bay:

  • Brush your teeth 
  • Floss your teeth
  • Eat healthy foods
  • See your dentist
  • Never use tobacco

Remember, diabetes can cause serious problems in your mouth. With commitment and the right care, you can do something about it.

Check your plan benefits for details about your dental coverage. For more tips on the link between oral health and your total health, visit Log in to Blue Access for MembersSM. Click on the “My Coverage” tab and then “Dental” to visit the Dental Wellness Center.

Sources: Treatment and Care, leaving site icon American Diabetes Association, 2021; Diabetes and Oral Health, leaving site icon National Institutes of Health, 2020.

Originally published 6/20/2016; Revised 2021