Generations of Smiles | Issue 12

Page 12

Oral health children T I P S




hen a child is diagnosed with diabetes, parents need to be aware that their child is at higher risk for oral health problems such as gum disease.1 Bacteria cause early gum disease by forming plaque in the mouth. However, the nature and intensity of the body’s inflammatory response to bacteria in people with diabetes is different than in people without, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes can reduce the amount of saliva that the mouth produces, leading to a condition called dry mouth or xerostomia. Saliva protects against dryness, helping



keep bacteria and food particles from building up. On the other hand, diabetes can increase the amount of glucose in saliva, causing more bacteria to grow and more plaque to accumulate.2 Untreated, early gum disease can progress to periodontitis, resulting in tooth loss and impacting other aspects of health.3 If your child has diabetes, it’s important to take measures to reduce the risk of gum disease and partner with your family dentist in managing oral health.

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