There are 26 million children and adults in the United States living with diabetes. People who have uncontrolled diabetes are known to experience complications with the eyes and blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage, hypertension and other important systems in the body. Did you know however that diabetes can also cause problems in the mouth?

There is a strong connection between diabetes and gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop gum disease than those without diabetes. Common signs of gum disease for diabetics includes: bleeding gums, swollen and tender gums, loss of gum tissues, loose teeth, and persistent bad breath. High blood sugar levels and high bacteria levels go hand in hand to wreak havoc on the body. High blood sugar is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and infections to grow all over the body, which includes gum infections in the mouth. A gum infection in the mouth can in turn interfere with a diabetic’s body to use insulin to control blood sugar and diabetes.

A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Colgate Total® confirmed consumers’ lack of knowledge concerning the various health issues associated with diabetes. The survey found the following:

  • More than one third of all respondents (36%) revealed they were not aware of the link between diabetes and oral health and were less likely to associate oral health issues with diabetes than almost all other health conditions related to diabetes.
  • More than half (54%) reported one or more symptoms of gum disease – yet 67% did not discuss their oral health with their doctor.

To better equip diabetes patients and their families with the resources they need to take care of their smiles, Colgate Total® announced the “Watch Your Mouth!” campaign, a campaign to help raise awareness, provide information, as well as helpful tips about the often overlooked link between oral health and diabetes. I’ve proudly joined Colgate Total® as a national spokesperson and expert for their “Watch Your Mouth!” campaign and hope to help diabetics have a happy and healthy smile.

Here Are 3 Helpful Tips To Control Gum Disease and Diabetes

The most important thing that a diabetic patient can do is practice good oral hygiene habits at home to reduce infections in the mouth.

  • The Golden Rule: Brush, floss, and use mouth rinse 2-3 times a day to keep bacterial levels down. Not the best brusher? Consider investing in an electric toothbrush which is more effective in cleaning than manual toothbrushes. Not the best flosser? Try a substitute like a Waterpik water flosser.
  • Contact your dentist or hygienist if you experience any of the common signs of gum disease. A diabetic patient may likely need to make more frequent visits to the dentist for preventive care (every 3-4 months)
  • When making food choices read labels. Consider the sugar content and the number of times a day you eat sugary snacks, foods, and beverages.

To access more tips and information on how to manage oral health and diabetes, please visit the campaign site at www.OralHealthAndDiabetes.com.