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How Does Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes Affect Oral Health? Higher Risk of Tooth Decay, Gum Disease & More

Smile Reef

One of the most heart-wrenching things you can hear as a parent is, “Your child has been diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes”. This is a disease where the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar found in our blood. Diabetes is unfortunately a disease they will likely have for the rest of their lives. Only 5% of people diagnosed with diabetes will have type 1 where insulin will not allow sugar into the cells, so it builds up in the bloodstream and can cause life threatening complications. Having this disease can lower your ability to fight off infections and will most definitely slow down the healing process. Unfortunately, there are several risks for a child’s oral health due to this disease.

Type 1 Diabetes & Dental Problems

Children with type 1 are at a higher risk of tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, and other oral health complications and should therefore keep a close eye on their oral health to lower the risk of these oral issues. Controlling blood sugar is an important factor in controlling and preventing various oral health diseases because diabetes contributes to the growth of excess bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth while lowering the body’s ability to fight back. Tooth decay is also a major problem in juveniles suffering with Type-1. Plaque is a sticky buildup of bacteria that forms in our mouths and feeds on starches and sugars found in the foods we eat, and the drinks we consume. The higher the blood sugar level, the greater supply of sugars for plaque to grow with. When left untreated or not removed daily, plaque turns into tartar which builds up along or under the gum line and it causes irritation to the gums, causing them to become red and inflamed which ultimately leads to gingivitis. Other oral complications are common, in children with Type-1 such as thrush. Thrush is an oral yeast infection and can cause painful white sores on the inside of the mouth, making eating or drinking uncomfortable and will likely require medication to clear it up. Other complications can be frequent oral infections, less saliva production leading to dry mouth, and even children’s teeth erupting at an early age.

Pediatric Dental Care

Diabetes can be a difficult disease to fight alone. Having a gentle, caring dentist you and your child can trust will make all the difference in managing and treating the complications that come with fighting back against the effects of type 1 diabetes. Regular dental visits along with brushing teeth twice a day, flossing at least once, using an anticavity rinse, coupled with a balanced diet packed with calcium and vitamin D to support strong bones and teeth and drinking plenty of water, will help tremendously in ensuring quality care of your child’s oral health. Smile Reef is experienced in all aspects of pediatric oral care and is here to serve all your child’s dental needs!

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