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Patients with Diabetes Should Watch Their Mouths, Gum Disease Could Wreck That Smile

Uncontrolled diabetes could lead to inflamed gums

November 01, 2013

Contact Information:
Telephone: 312.440.2806
Email: (Journalists) or Contact ADA (All Others)

View the multimedia version of this press release.

CHICAGO, Nov. 1, 2013 — Of the 26 million people who have diabetes, an estimated 7 million have no idea that they have the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. With those figures in mind, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that regular health care checkups may help to identify potential signs of diabetes.

"Oral health and overall health are related, so part of my role as a dentist is to flag signs of poor oral health that might also signal other serious health conditions," said Alice G. Boghosian, D.D.S., a consumer advisor for the ADA who practices in Illinois. "Severely inflamed gums, coupled with a patient’s medical history, can be cause for concern."

Patients with diabetes have a lower resistance to infection, and that, combined with a longer healing process makes them more susceptible to developing gum disease.

A recent study in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that one in five cases of total tooth loss in the United States can be linked to diabetes. A dentist can be a valuable member of a patient’s diabetes health care team to help check for the signs of gum disease and provide tips on how to keep patients mouth healthy.

Regardless of your health status, the ADA recommends everyone practice good oral health habits by brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, eating a healthy diet and visiting your dentist regularly.

Visit our multimedia version of this release, with downloadable images and video assets. For more information on diabetes and oral health, please visit

Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter @AmerDentalAssn

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 163,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website