The Connection between Childhood Diabetes and Oral Health

November is American Diabetes Month. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 210,000 Americans under the age of 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes. Many people may not realize that diabetes can impact your child’s oral health in important ways. The reverse is also true: taking care of your oral health can also help keep diabetes under control.

How diabetes affects your child’s oral health

On their website, the American Dental Association explains that children with diabetes may see their teeth erupt at an earlier age than normal. In addition, children with diabetes are at greater risk for gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. This is primarily due to increased blood sugar levels that allow bacteria to thrive. Blood sugar levels also rise with gum disease, making diabetes even harder to control. The Decisions in Dentistry journal also shares that diabetes can decrease the amount of saliva in your mouth, making a child with diabetes more prone to cavities. 

Caring for your child’s oral health

Taking control of your child’s oral health can help improve blood sugar levels and prevent many oral health problems. If your child has diabetes, you can help them care for their mouth in several important ways, including:

  • Monitor your child’s blood glucose levels closely to ensure they are within target range.
  • Brush their teeth at least twice daily with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss their teeth at least once daily.
  • Visit your pediatric dentist at least twice a year, and more often if you notice any problems such as pain or bleeding in your child’s mouth.
  • Provide healthy meals and avoid sugary foods and beverages.

Be sure to discuss your child’s overall health and medical history with their dental team so they can help provide the best care possible. Maintaining a good partnership with your dentist can keep your child’s smile healthy and help manage diabetes. Schedule an appointment with us today!