Oral health should be paramount for everyone, but it is especially important for those who suffer from diabetes. In fact, the National Library of Medicine says:

“The risk of periodontitis is increased by approximately threefold in diabetic individuals compared with non-diabetic individuals.”

With this increased risk of periodontitis (aka gum disease) comes increased risk of tooth and gum loss, painful chewing, and dry mouth. So in this post, we want to shed some light on the connection between gum disease and diabetes as well as offer some oral care tips to diabetes sufferers.

The Connection

When diabetes is not controlled, high glucose levels in saliva help harmful bacteria grow. These bacteria combine with food to plaque. Plaque also comes from eating foods that contain sugars or starches. Some types of plaque cause tooth decay or cavities. Other types of plaque cause gum disease and bad breath.

Symptoms to Watch Out For

Gum disease can be more severe and take longer to heal if you have diabetes. In turn, having gum disease can make your blood glucose hard to control.

According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, the most common mouth problems from diabetes are:

  • Gingivitis: unhealthy gums
  • Periodontitis: full-on gum disease
  • Thrush: growth of a naturally occurring fungus that the body is unable to control
  • Dry mouth: a lack of saliva in your mouth, which raises your risk for tooth decay and gum disease
  • Oral burning: a burning sensation inside the mouth caused by uncontrolled blood glucose levels


Along with taking your prescribed medicine(s), here are some general oral health tips for diabetes sufferers in the Jacksonville area:

Jacksonville dentist Dr. Harris Rittenberg says maintaining oral health is crucial for diabetes sufferers

People who suffer from diabetes need to focus even more on their oral care.

  • Focus on your physician-recommended meal plan and try to eat as healthily as possible.
  • Brush and floss every day.
  • Visit us at least twice a year. Be sure to tell us that you have diabetes.
  • For diabetes suffers who wear dentures, tell us if your dentures do not fit right or if your gums are sore.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Ask us about using an anti-plaque or anti-gingivitis mouth rinse to control plaque.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking makes gum disease worse.
  • Most of all, take more time to check your mouth for problems.

Come See Us

Call and schedule an appointment if you notice your gums bleed when you brush or floss or if there is an increase in dryness, soreness, white patches, or a bad taste in your mouth.

By acting quickly, we can prevent the periodontitis from getting worse. Even better, we can stop the uncomfortable feelings and get your mouth healthy again.