If it’s November it’s National Diabetes Awareness Month. This event is particularly important to dentists such as us at Kidz Connextion in Phoenix, because diabetes affects oral health in several ways. Diabetes can occur in children, so they and their parents need to know what additional challenges they may face.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that makes it difficult for people to process sugar. It has implications for the entire body, including inflammation and a weakened immune system. As a result, people with diabetes are particularly vulnerable to gum infections. They have periodontal disease at higher rates than the general population and are likelier to suffer from bleeding gums.
It is unclear whether children with diabetes are at increased risk for tooth decay, but their gums do become more inflamed when new teeth are erupting. Some research indicates that their teeth also erupt faster. People with high blood sugar also tend to have dry mouth more often, which is uncomfortable and deprives the body of saliva, another important defense against gum disease. It is especially important for children with diabetes to practice good oral hygiene and to have their teeth cleaned regularly. Chewing sugar-free gum is one way for them to stimulate more saliva production, and avoiding sugary drinks such as soda and juice will make them less vulnerable to dry mouth.
Kidz Connextion Dental Care maintains offices around Phoenix. To find out more, visit our website at Kidz Connextion.