Oral Health and Your Diabetes…Make the Connection

Did you know?

Poor oral health is often referred to as “the 6th complication of diabetes.” If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your risk of developing gum disease increases, and if you are diagnosed with gum disease your risk of developing or negatively impacting your diabetes increases.

Chronic inflammation of the gums can cause damage to the cells responsible for insulin production. Diabetes affects your body’s ability to utilize glucose or blood sugar for energy and it reduces the body’s ability to fight against bacteria and gum disease.

Neglecting your oral health can lead to plague and gingivitis and may eventually lead to periodontal disease. Persons with diabetes experience both gingivitis and periodontitis at three times the rate of those without the disease.

What can you do to protect your oral health and control the impact on your diabetes?

  • Visit your dentist regularly and share information about your diabetes.
  • Brush teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day.
  • Floss or clean between teeth daily.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Limit foods and drinks that are high in sugar.
  • Protect teeth from decay by drinking water with fluoride.
  • Ask dental and medical providers to coordinate care by sharing test results.

Calculate your risk for pre-diabetes with online test


Learn more about the Oral Health – Diabetes Medical Dental Integration Initiative

Program Overview

Oral Health Resources

Diabetes and Oral Health Brochure
Diabetes and Oral Health Rack Card

Oral Health Diabetes Video


What we do

The Connecting Smiles initiative aims to improve oral health of the citizens of South Carolina by strengthening the linkage between individuals, community-based programs and medical and dental providers.

Contact Info

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

2100 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29201