Diabetes & Dental Hygiene

It’s no secret that I don’t possess the finest teeth. My dentist has told me some of this is a result of diabetes. Along with the rest: just plain ole disdain of tooth brushes and dental floss since I was a kid. My poor.

Obviously, this means that handling low blood sugars might be even more of a challenge — particularly in these days following Halloween, whenever there’s various candy around the house. With fewer kiddos coming to the door due to cold rainy weather on Oct. 31, we’ve got more candy left over this season and it has been calling my name every time that my blood sugars drop, which my teeth are not thanking me for.

Some can call it leftover Halloween candy, but I refer to it as “perfectly-sized low blood glucose remedies.”

Back in the day I used to favor Skittles as a means to enhance my blood sugars when needed. And Halloween has always been a time to stock up on these little kid-sized fun packs of them, which look like the perfect low treatment dimension, at 13 g rather than 51 carbohydrates within an regular-sized bag. But over the last couple of years, this perfection has waned — thanks to some dental woes.

This came to mind recently while reading a post over at Six Until Me about the Tootsie Roll of Doom, which reminded me of two major things: I have been slacking on my dental appointments and also need to get on this, also this October had come and gone with no mention of this being National Dental Hygiene Month. Yep, there was an entire month focused on this important topic for us PWDs (individuals with diabetes), since we’re prone to dental issues than people without D.

It also made me reflect on how my pick in low remedies has dramatically changed in recent years…

I have had more crowns and fillings put on as the years have passed, and just over the last two years I’ve chipped a tooth and had a few new crowns put on to replace some older ones. Obviously, most of these issues include my incisors and molars and that’s made it more challenging to appreciate those chewing candy that I once enjoyed so much.

Two or three years back, I went druing a plane ride to the West Coast and ended up pulling a meeting and chipping that tooth thanks to these pesky Skittles on a daybed. Starbursts and other chewy delights also have caused teeth issues for me over the years. As it stands today,  I actually can not remember the last time I chewed a piece of chewing gum, or treated to gummy candies that were after my mainstay. Darn!

So naturally, I have changed my regular on Hypo Treatments — particularly during Halloween season. Sure, I have been enjoying some of the fun-sized Skittles packs. However, I eat them slowly and carefully, and make certain to be aware of what teeth I’m using (which really cuts to the fun). More often, I switch to juiceboxes, glucose tabs, or other choices that restrict or eliminate completely the need to chew.

Here is what I’ve been attempting to do since this Halloween to beef up my dual dental and diabetes attention:

  • Sucking on sugar tabs: Yes, I do this today. I have discovered that the tabs start off kind of hard and hard to chew, but they glow fairly quickly if you let them sit in your mouth for a little before chomping down. This feels like it’s helping reduce the risk of my breaking a tooth messing with my dental work.
  • Brushing teeth after a night-time remedy: I understand PWDs disagree on this one. Lots of us hate feeling obligated to get up from bed and brush teeth after having awoken with a Low. I certainly am guilty of turning over and going back to sleep without even cleaning off all that fast-acting sugar residue clinging to my teeth. Net effect = awful! So obviously, more attention to post-low brushing and flossing is in order.

That is where my mind — along with my teeth are at, right now.

I may fall in the class of both pancreatically-challenged and dentally-impaired, but there’s no reason that I can not do much better on both fronts. At least if I make the effort, my dentist will be happy. And just perhaps, I will preserve some teeth and costs of dental work along the way.

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content isn’t medically reviewed and doesn’t stick to Healthline’s editorial instructions. To learn more regarding Healthline’s partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.

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