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Diabetes and Oral Health Issues


Diabetes can have an impact on your oral health. Read on to find out how to manage your oral health if you have diabetes.

Gums disease and diabetes

Up to one hundred billion bacteria can be found in your mouth – an impressive number! Some of these bacteria help protect your mouth and keep it healthy, while others can cause bad breath, dry mouth, or gum disease. Having high blood glucose increases your risk of periodontitis (gum disease)1. Diabetes sufferers should see their dentist as soon as possible if they notice red and tender gums that bleed when brushing their teeth, tooth sensitivity, or a receding gum line.

Gum disease can make chewing very painful and can, eventually, cause tooth loss through damage to the tissue and bone holding the teeth in place. If you know you have diabetes, you should make sure your dentist knows, too, as it can affect the way your gums heal after treatment for periodontitis.

Some people with diabetes also notice a dry mouth. Start by staying well-hydrated. Keeping your blood sugar under control is one way of keeping dry mouth at bay

Zendium Red and swollen gums

Diabetes and acetone breath?

If you’ve noticed that your breath smells like nail polish remover – ‘acetone breath’ – this could be a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)2, a condition mostly limited to those with type 1 diabetes. DKA happens when your body can’t produce insulin, becomes starved of glucose, and starts to burn fat, producing ketones that build up in your blood and urine. This is a serious condition, so if you notice breath that smells like acetone, seek medical help immediately.

Taking care of your oral health with diabetes

If you live with diabetes, the most important way to take care of yourself is by keeping your blood sugar levels under control. High blood glucose levels make it harder for the body to fight infection, so taking your medication correctly and monitoring your blood sugar is key to avoiding complications from gum disease. It will also help keep that dry mouth under control, and prevent the acetone breath that signals ketoacidosis.

If you suffer from diabetes, you might like to use a toothpaste with proven gum health benefits. Zendium toothpaste helps keep gums healthy and is therefore also suitable for people with diabetes. Based on a recent clinical study on healthy participants, 100% of Zendium users experienced improved gum health. 

Zendium Swollen and tender gums

People with diabetes should be aware that mouthwashes containing alcohol could dry your mouth. Zendium mouthwash is alcohol-free, and all Zendium products are also free from SLS, an ingredient which is known to irritate mouth ulcers, and the sensitive skin inside the mouth.

Oral health problems can be common in diabetes sufferers, but they’re not impossible to control – all it takes is awareness, effective self-care, and a strong oral hygiene regime. Remember, regular dental visits are important for everyone, and are particularly important for people with diabetes.


2 https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/bad-breath


*Refers to a 13 week gum health clinical study, China 2019 (n=109)

**Refers to the gum health and gum problems associated bacterial species in dental plaque which changed significantly over a 14-week clinical study with 102 subjects.

***In vivo study on 93 subjects during 4 weeks, regular use, UK 2017

The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely available for information purposes. We recommend that you consult your dentist if you are experiencing any gum problems.