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Diabetes can be evident in your oral health in two ways: Gum disease may be the first sign of a possible problem with your sugar level. Though this is not always the case, if you notice some bleeding when you brush or floss, it may be an early sign of gum disease. If it becomes more frequent or severe, the supporting structures of the oral cavity can be broken down by a process known as periodontal disease, which eventually leads to tooth loss.

Early gum disease can be reversed with proper dental hygiene, regular dental visits and a healthy diet. Research has shown that gum disease can worsen if your blood sugar is not under control.

The second oral sign of a possible problem with diabetes is dry mouth. Diabetic patients have less saliva. So, if you start noticing that you’re thirstier than you used to be, first you can try to quench this with small sips of plain water throughout the day. Additionally, try products like Biotène®, specifically made for dry mouth symptoms. Biotène is available as a toothpaste, mouth rinse, saliva substitute or chewing gum. You can also try to eat a healthy diet and chew sugarless gum to get saliva flowing.

If you find yourself with these symptoms, be sure to visit your medical doctor and have your sugar level checked. Dental awareness could get you on the road to a medical recovery sooner. Or maybe, you have healthy sugar levels, and this was simply a wake-up call to floss daily.