Type 1 diabetes, often referred to as juvenile diabetes, affects hundreds of thousands of children every year. While the exact cause of this condition is currently unknown, doctors have determined childhood diabetes can have a negative impact on a child’s oral health. This makes it very important to make sure your child sees the dentist on a regular basis for cleanings, exams, and oral hygiene tips.
At Alligator Dental, we provide children’s dental care in San Marcos and the surrounding area. If your child has Type 1 diabetes, please make a note of this on your new patient forms. We are happy to provide you with tips and information that can help ensure your child’s smile is bright and healthy, regardless of their diabetic condition. Below, you’ll find helpful information about juvenile diabetes and your child’s dental health.
Understanding Childhood Diabetes
Diabetes and Gum Disease
There is an undeniable link between diabetes and gum disease, as many studies have concluded that children with diabetes have an increased likelihood of developing this disease. To understand why, it is important to know what causes periodontal disease in children. Bacteria, dental plaque, and calculus are the leading contributors to gum disease, and children who have diabetes seem to develop more of these conditions than others. This is most likely because of elevated blood sugar levels and decreased saliva, making a good oral hygiene routine a must for diabetic children.
Oral Signs of Childhood Diabetes
There are several signs and symptoms of diabetes in children, including extreme hunger, weight loss, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, and yeast infections. In addition to these symptoms, there are a few oral-specific concerns that may warrant a call to your child’s doctor. These include:
- A dry mouth, caused by lower saliva production
- Inflamed, bleeding, and/or receding gums
- Early tooth eruption
- Oral wounds that heal slowly
- Frequent oral infections
If you notice any of these oral signs of diabetes, it is important to address them as soon as possible. Your child’s pediatrician can perform lab tests and diagnostic imaging to determine if Type 1 diabetes is causing these conditions, and our dentist in San Marcos can perform an oral exam to rule out other contributing dental conditions.
The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
Encouraging children to brush and floss regularly and thoroughly can be challenging, even with children who are not diabetic. However, if your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, it is incredibly important to remain vigilant about encouraging a thorough daily oral hygiene routine. You can help your child take care of their teeth by making sure they floss once a day and brush their teeth two times a day for two minutes at a time, as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). They should use an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste, and replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become splayed.
While routine brushing and flossing techniques are very important, helping your child achieve good oral hygiene doesn’t stop in the bathroom. Work with your child to develop healthy eating habits. Eating a balanced diet and limiting sugary foods and drinks can help control your child’s blood sugar and keep their teeth as healthy as possible. Additionally, make sure to keep your child’s regularly scheduled dental appointments. Not only will this ensure your child receives the dental care they need to help prevent cavities and oral infections, but it will also help identify dental health concerns before they develop into troublesome problems.
Children’s Dental Care in San Marcos
Developing a sound oral hygiene routine with your child is a key part of helping them achieve a lifetime of bright, healthy, smiles. Alligator Dental is your Top Rated Local® dentist in San Marcos, and we are here to help you in this endeavor. Our team provides a fun, friendly atmosphere that makes going to the dentist fun for kids. If your child is exhibiting any of the oral symptoms we reviewed today, or if your kiddo is just overdue for their regular checkup, please call our office as soon as possible. We’ll gladly speak with you about your concerns and schedule an appointment for your child.