Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, affecting around 29 million people in America alone. The illness forces people to make drastic changes in their lifestyle and diet, requiring them to follow a strict treatment. One of the changes they must do refers to their oral hygiene. Diabetes promotes periodontal disease, which leads to the loss of teeth, as the gums become weaker and inflamed. Kids can also suffer from diabetes, which affects their teeth on the long term. To be able to keep their teeth in top shape as long as possible kids with diabetes must learn how to care for their teeth.
Diabetes and gum disease
According to Dr. Marina Krepkh, pediatric dentist, diabetes increases the risk of developing bacterial infections. Because diabetics have high blood sugar, which prevents the blood from reaching some of the body parts, including the mouth. The gums can’t get the nutrients they need, so they become prone to infections. To be able to maintain a good oral health you need to control your diabetes effectively. If your child was already diagnosed with diabetes make sure you inform the dentist right away. It’s a good idea to let the dentist know the latest blood glucose reading of your child at the beginning of the appointment.
Another problem in kids with diabetes is that gum disease promotes high blood sugar levels, leading to a never-ending loop.
Symptoms of diabetes
Many parents are not aware that their children suffer from diabetes, which puts their life in danger. The good news is that a dentist can detect signs of diabetes during a regular checkup. If you notice one or several of the following symptoms in your child, you should take them to the dentist as soon as possible. Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Dry mouth feeling
- Inflamed gums which bleed frequently
- Oral wounds take a lot of time to heal
- Bad breath
- Increased or abnormal sensitivity in the teeth
- The gum line is receding.
How to care for your teeth when you have diabetes
When your child suffers from diabetes they need to take special care of their teeth and be very serious about their oral hygiene. Diabetics often feel thirsty and they mouth is dry, which leads to bacteria buildup and infections, as the amount of saliva is too low to neutralize the bacteria.
Teach your child to brush at least twice a day with a soft brush. Brush both the teeth and the tongue, as bacteria gathers on the tongue as well. Invest in toothpaste with a high content of fluoride, which can protect the teeth and prevent plaque. Brushing must be accompanied by flossing and rinsing with a mouthwash. This regime prevents the buildup of plaque.
Make sure your child gets regular dental check-ups every six months, so the dentist can spot any sign of trouble early on.