The time you devote to your teeth and gums benefits your diabetes control. And aspects of taking care of your diabetes, such as healthful eating, being physically active, and managing blood glucose, support your tooth and gum health.
Good oral hygiene has major health benefits.
"Very few people realize the connection between their teeth and health," says Charles Martin, D.D.S., of Richmond, Virginia, founder of DentistryForDiabetics (dentistryfordiabetics.com). "A person with type 2 diabetes is 2-4 times more likely to have gum disease than those without diabetes. Good oral hygiene can help you control your diabetes."
Gum disease and tooth problems can cause blood glucose levels to rise. Elevated blood glucose makes your gums more susceptible to bacterial infections and increases your risk for developing gum disease (periodontal disease), cavities, and tooth decay. Plus, it's more difficult for any mouth problems to heal. "When your blood glucose is high, it's harder to manage periodontal problems," says Roger Briggs, D.D.S., of Briggs Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Scottsdale, Arizona. "But if you do manage periodontal problems, you can lower your blood glucose."