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If you live with diabetes, you probably watch your diet and nutrition for overall health, but have you considered your oral health?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes are 2X more likely to develop gum disease. Diabetes makes the body more susceptible to bacterial infections and less able to fight germs that invade the gums.

Good news. Colgate Total® toothpaste can help improve your gum health in as little as 4 weeks* and is approved by the FDA to help prevent gingivitis**, the most common form of gum disease. We’ve assembled a group of diabetes lifestyle and oral health experts and asked them to provide some useful tips about the issue.

Tips from the Colgate Total® “Watch Your Mouth!” Experts


Lurelean Gaines, RN, MSN
Lurelean Gaines, RN, MSN
President, Health Care & Education, American Diabetes Association
Lurelean B. Gaines is Chair, Department of Nursing, East Los Angeles College. She was the Western Region Coordinator for Sigma Theta Tua, the International Nursing Honor Society. She is former Chairperson for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges in the Western Region (serving CA, HI, and the Pacific). She is a Paul Harris Fellow (Rotary Foundation Rotary International), and Nurse Educator of the year for Chi Eta Phi Sorority.

Nurse Gaines’s Advice:

  • The American Diabetes Association considers oral health and hygiene a focus of treatment and care for people living with diabetes, along with blood glucose control and medication management.
  • Remember that people with diabetes have special oral care needs, and your dentist and hygienist are equipped to meet them — with your help. Keep them informed of any changes in your condition and any medication you might be taking.


Karent Sierra, DDS
Karent Sierra, DDS
Owner, Karent Sierra Aesthetic Dentistry
Dr. Karent Sierra is Miami’s No. 1 celebrity dentist and Colgate spokesperson who firmly believes that creating healthy smiles can change lives. After attending dental school in Wisconsin, she opened up her own private practice in Coral Gables and now refers to herself as a Miami native through-and-through.

Dr. Sierra’s Advice:

  • Brush for two minutes twice a day with a toothpaste with an antigingivitis or antibacterial ingredient to help prevent gingivitis. Choose a toothpaste, like Colgate Total®, that is accepted by the American Dental Association.
  • Diabetes is more prevalent among U.S. Hispanics than the general population1. If you’re Latino, be sure to share information about the link between oral health and diabetes with members of your family and community who may not know!


Nurse Lurelean Gaines
Dr. Foti Panagakos
Global Director of Scientific Affairs and Research Relations, Colgate-Palmolive
Dr. Panagakos received his DMD from UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School and his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UMDNJ-Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 1992. After years as a faculty member at New Jersey Dental School, he joined the Colgate-Palmolive Oral Care Clinical Research Department.

Dr. Panagakos’s Advice:

  • Diabetes predisposes a person to gum disease, and severe gum disease, if left untreated, can make diabetes more difficult to control. To help break this cycle, you should see a periodontist (gum specialist). Gum treatment can and should be initiated to begin to reduce the gum infection and inflammation. Emerging research shows this may help you manage your diabetes.
  • Diabetes is associated with low saliva production and dry mouth, conditions which increase the risk for enamel demineralization and make enamel more prone to decay. Very good daily oral hygiene with a soft toothbrush and a fluoride-containing, plaque-fighting toothpaste, like Colgate Total®, can help reduce this risk.


Nurse Lurelean Gaines
Dr. Catrise Austin, DDS
Founder, NYC Cosmetic and General Dentistry
Best known as the “Dentist to the Stars,” Colgate spokesperson Dr. Catrise Austin is a trailblazing expert in the field of dentistry. She is an author, professional speaker, spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association, entrepreneur, and founder of NYC Cosmetic and General Dentistry — a modern dental practice in New York City.

Dr. Austin’s Advice:

  • Help manage your diabetes by improving your oral care with Colgate Total® toothpaste. Simply brush 2-3 times each day to remove hidden bacteria above the gumline and floss after meals to remove hidden bacteria below the gumline.
  • Visit your dental team every 6 months for professional care and you'll have a smile worthy of the red carpet!


1 CDC, 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet:
*Results improve with continued twice daily use, as shown in 6-month clinical studies of the general population.
**Colgate Total is approved through the New Drug Application Process to help prevent plaque, gingivitis and cavities. Not approved for the prevention or treatment of serious gum disease or other diseases.

Learn more about diabetes and oral health
Diabetes Warning Signs Diabetes and Gum Disease


The American Diabetes Association lists Oral Health and Hygiene as a focus area of Treatment and Care for people living with diabetes, along with Blood Glucose Control and Medication Management.

Diabetes Resources