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Healtheuniversity > English > Diabetes College > Treat Diabetes > Health Problems with Diabetes > Skin and Gums

Skin and Gums

What Can Happen?

Your skin covers your whole body. Your skin has 3 main functions.

  1. Protect the inside of your body from the outside environment.
  2. Control your body temperature.
  3. Feeling.

Diabetes changes your skin. Your skin will not work as well if your diabetes is not managed. This makes your skin more likely to be dry, cracked and itchy. Your skin is also more likely to have infections.

Diabetes can put you at a higher risk for gum disease, cavities and sores in your mouth.

What Can I Do?

It is important to manage your diabetes. This can prevent or delay damage your skin and gums. 

Maintain good skin care to help prevent infections. Some good skin care tips are:

  • Shower with lukewarm water, a mild soap and mild shampoo.
  • Put lotion on your dry skin (try not to put it between your toes).
  • Check your skin for cracks or sores every day.
  • Go to your doctor right away if you notice cuts, sores or rashes.
  • Keep skin dry.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Wear clothes that take sweat away from your skin such as, clothes made from man-made microfibers (dry wicking material). Look at your clothing tags for these materials.

If you think you have an infection, talk to your doctor right away.

Maintain good oral care. Brush and floss your teeth daily. Have regular checkups at your dentist (usually 2 times per year).

  • If your gums are red or swollen talk to your dentist right away.
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Last Reviewed: 10/22/2016