Learn How Diabetes Can Impact Your Child’s Oral Health

a person taking their blood sugar levels

Whether your child is a Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic, it’s important that their blood sugar levels be properly maintained. Not only for reasons associated with their overall health but also because uncontrolled diabetes can wreak havoc on their oral health. November is actually National Diabetes Awareness Month, which means it’s a great time to learn how diabetes can affect a child’s oral health. Here are some helpful tips from a pediatric dentist in Irving.

How Does Diabetes Affect Oral Health?

It is a little-known fact that in the United States, there are around 3 million people are living with Type 1 diabetes, and 15% are children. This increasingly common disease affects blood sugar levels and weakens the immune system. As a result, diabetics are more prone to developing oral health problems such as a bacterial infection like gum disease.

If you know anything about gum disease, you know that it can attack both children and adults. Not only it is harmful to a healthy person, but if your child’s immune system is already compromised by diabetes, this raises their risk of infection.

When plaque and tartar begin to build, it can spread beneath the gum line. This creates gum pockets and makes it more likely for bacteria and food particles to become trapped. As a result, gums can become red, puffy, and they may begin to bleed. When the infection and inflammation enter the bloodstream, this can lead to a healthy person potentially developing diabetes. However, if your child already has this disease, it can make combatting gum disease even more difficult, especially if glucose levels are not controlled.

Importance of Preventive Care

Not only should your child be seeing a children’s dentist in Irving for regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months, but if they are suffering from diabetes/gum disease, it will be necessary that they are seen more frequently (about every 3-4 months).

Apart from regular visits to the dentist, these following tips can be used to improve oral health and better manage diabetes:

  • Make sure your child is brushing their teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste to remove harmful bacteria, strengthen tooth enamel, and protect against tooth decay.
  • Ensure they’re flossing at least once a day and rinsing with an ADA-approved mouthwash.
  • Minimize the amount of sugar they consume, as it attracts bacteria, and make sure they eat a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet.
  • Check their blood sugar levels regularly.
  • Make sure they’re drinking enough water to stay hydrated, prevent dry mouth, and keep their salivary glands working at an optimal level.

It is possible for your child to live with diabetes and maintain a healthy mouth. Just talk to their dentist and physician about ways to manage both, and you’ll be able to keep gum disease away.

About the Practice
At Rio Dental, our team of dentists knows what it takes to keep your child’s smile healthy well into adulthood. This is why if your child has diabetes, it’s important that we see them on a regular basis to make sure their oral health remains in great shape. If this common disease is uncontrolled, it can be problematic for your little one’s teeth and gums. We can provide helpful tips and tricks to stay on top of your child’s oral hygiene regimen as well as information on how diabetes can negatively impact their smile. To learn more, contact us via the website or by calling (972) 793-0735.

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You can play a part in preparing your child for his or her first visit to our office. Informing your child of the visit as an exciting experience for both of you can ease any hesitations. As a parent try to act relaxed, since your child may sense any anxiety on your part.

Explain to your child that the doctor will “count, brush, and maybe take pictures of their teeth”. We also ask that you assume the role of a silent observer. Cooperation and trust must be established directly between the doctor, staff, and your child and not through you. Your child may become confused if receiving instructions from multiple sources.

We recommend bringing your baby in for their first dental appointment by their first birthday, or within 6 months of their first tooth appearing (whichever comes first). During this appointment, we will examine your baby’s mouth to track their dental development and discuss age-appropriate dental care.

It’s easy to make appointments to visit our office online or over the phone. Rio Dental sees patients both for checkups and dental emergencies. Using our online scheduler, you can select the location and time slot that works best for you for either type of appointment. If you have any questions regarding our practice, or simply prefer to make your appointment with a live member of staff, please don’t hesitate to call!

Rio Dental Group accepts most PPO insurances. We recommend that new patients and returning patients with new insurance policies reach out to us before their appointment to confirm coverage. Our Fort Worth location also sees patients who are covered by Medicaid and CHIP programs.

We don’t like surprises, either! Our staff is prepared to discuss the cost of dental services before you undergo treatment so that you know what to expect in terms of fees. The cost of your services will be due at the end of your appointment. Our office accepts payment by cash, credit card, or check.

Rio Dental Group allows patients to pay with their CareCredit card. CareCredit is a healthcare credit card designed to cover out-of-pocket costs at over 225,000 providers nationwide. After leaving the office, card holders will be able to make convenient monthly payments towards their balance. To learn more, visit the CareCredit website.

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