Dental advice for children & young people with diabetes
Dental Care is very important and an essential part of good health.
Having Diabetes means that problems with teeth and gums can be more common especially if you have high blood glucose levels. So if you have diabetes, good effective dental care is even more important.
It is estimated that people with diabetes are three times more likely to get gum disease so make sure to visit your dentist regularly.
Remember Free NHS Dental treatment is available for all children and teenagers under 19 years in full time education.
Diabetes and Gum Diseases
Gum disease is a common infection and happens when bacteria within the mouth begin to form a sticky plaque which sits on the teeth. Over time, if it is not removed by regular brushing with the correct technique, a gum inflammation called Gingivitis can develop. This is much more likely to happen if your blood glucose levels are high.
Symptoms of Gingivitis
- Red swollen gums
- Bleeding from the gums especially when brushing
Thrush is caused by a type of fungus called Candida. If thrush grows out of control then you get a sticky white infection on your tongue, gums, roof of mouth and inside of the cheeks. Thrush grows best in sweet conditions which can happen when your blood glucose levels are too high.
If you have diabetes and you smoke you have a significant risk of developing gum disease especially if your blood glucose levels are high. People with poor long term control of their diabetes tend to get gum disease more often and have more extensive problems.
How to have good dental hygiene
- It is important you tell your dentist you have diabetes.
- Go to the dentist regularly, early treatment is essential as dental infections may disturb your diabetes control.
- Brush regularly, morning and evening with a good quality toothbrush and with at least 1,000ppm fluoride toothpaste.
- After spitting out toothpaste and don’t rinse with water, as this reduces the effect of the fluoride.
- Have a balanced diet avoiding sweet sugary foods. Take regular exercise to help keep blood glucose levels under control.
- When your blood glucose level is low and you require sugary carbohydrate, remember to brush your teeth afterwards whenever possible.
- When possible try to sip sugary drinks through a straw as this will put the sugary liquid to the back of your mouth avoiding the teeth.
- Take advice from your dentist about protective treatments such as fluoride supplements and fissure sealants
- If you need a general anaesthetic for dental care, this should be done in hospital. Make sure that you contact the diabetes team well in advance for advice.
- A painful mouth may prevent you eating properly, which can lead to low blood glucose readings so it is important to get treatment and to monitor your diabetes for often.
- The dentist may require you to fast for some procedures so make sure you do plenty of blood tests and consider reducing you insulin on that day. Ask your diabetes nurse for advice on dose adjustment.
- The dentist may want to give you antibiotics after some procedures to prevent infection.
- If in doubt call the diabetes team for advice.