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Gum disease

Good dental care and support is important if you have type 1 diabetes. Because of the extra glucose in your blood, you’re more at risk of gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss.
Content last reviewed and updated: 09.08.2023

A woman with type 1 diabetes who is cleaning her teeth to try to avoid the development of gum disease, a complication of diabetes

Why are people with type 1 more at risk from gum disease?

The excess sugar in your blood can get into your saliva, which can cause germs and plaque. This can make your gums feel irritated and become weaker, leading to tooth decay.

There are simple steps you can take to help reduce your risk of gum disease and lower your chances of tooth decay and loss.

Spotting the signs of gum disease

Speak to a dentist if you notice any problems in your mouth like bleeding gums, bad breath or soreness. You might notice some gum recession, which can make your teeth look longer and have bigger gaps between them. Getting treatment early can stop serious problems from developing.

Getting diagnosed with gum disease

Register with a dentist and try to visit them every six months. Getting regular check ups means the dentist can keep a close eye on the health of your mouth and gums.

If you experience any signs of gum disease, see a dentist as soon as possible. Spotting any issues early makes it easier to treat and less likely to lead to tooth loss.

Reducing your risk of gum disease

Having good dental hygiene and keeping your blood glucose levels in your target range as best you can will help to reduce your risk of gum disease. It’s also best to get help to give up smoking.

Keep your mouth healthy by brushing your teeth twice a day and visiting a dentist every six months. Flossing will also help to keep your teeth and gums clean.

Treatments for gum disease

The treatment for gum disease depends on how severe it is. You may need a deep clean under the gums, antibiotics, tooth removal or gum surgery.

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