Diabetes and dental health in children

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic endocrine disease, which is characterized by a persistent increase in blood sugar due to a deficiency of the pancreatic hormone – insulin. According to the data, among all pathologies of the endocrine system, it is diabetes mellitus that holds the leading position. Currently, the prevalence of diabetes among children tends to increase, and if just a couple of decades ago the onset of diabetes symptoms was nonsense, today doctors are not surprised. Newborn children rarely suffer from pathology, its debut falls on puberty.

Diabetes in children – the relevance of the problem

In clinical practice, children are found to have type I diabetes mellitus, insulin-dependent. While doctors can not name the exact cause of its occurrence, but there are theories that explain its formation. First of all, this is heredity, various metabolic disorders, violations of the introduction of complementary foods, etc.

It is a genetic predisposition that is considered the root cause of diabetes in children. It is noted that type 1 diabetes is transmitted through a generation, and each generation can suffer from type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes in infants

All the symptoms of diabetes in children are largely dependent on age, and on the severity of the pathology – mild or severe. Children infants rarely suffer from diabetes, and even with its development, often vsegovremenno exhibited a different diagnosis.  

The main symptom of diabetes that cannot be ignored is increased fetal body weight during pregnancy, but after birth, the baby can quickly lose weight, even if normal appetite remains and there are no interruptions in nutrition. Diabetes in children is a complex and difficult to tolerate disease.

Symptoms of diabetes in infants come down to frequent urination, literally every 30 to 60 minutes, constipation and various disorders of the digestive tract, the appearance of an odor of acetone from the oral cavity, night sweating.

Symptoms of diabetes in school and preschool children

Symptoms of diabetes in preschool and school children are more diverse, and even if they are similar to some other diseases, diabetes cannot be ruled out. In the clinical course, the symptoms of diabetes can be divided into general and acute. Common symptoms include persistent thirst, nocturnal enuresis, significant loss of body weight, and the appearance of vomiting reflexes. Diabetes mellitus and its effect on the work of the whole organism will contribute to a decrease in school performance and increased irritability. Due to the impact on the functioning of the immune defense, children often suffer from skin infections – barley on the eye, boils. 

The acute symptoms of diabetes include the formation of vomiting, especially when consuming sweets, frequent urination, which can sometimes cause dehydration, and severe weight loss. Children become lethargic, disoriented.

In adolescents, during the first six months or a year of the development of pathology, the symptoms of diabetes can be hidden. And with those manifestations that occur, doctors often make completely different diagnoses. Symptoms of diabetes are manifested by increased urination, mood swings, decreased performance, weight loss. Before acute symptoms occur, children may have an irresistible desire to eat sweets.

The effect of diabetes on children’s teeth and oral mucosa

It is often possible to diagnose the symptoms of diabetes in a child for the first time at a dentist’s appointment, and as statistics show, this is 10 – 30% of cases. After all, the disease has not only general specific symptoms, but also negative manifestations in the oral cavity. Changes affect not only the teeth in children, but also the mucous membrane. Local protective mechanisms are affected, which only worsens the condition. 

The first complaints in children relate to xerostomia – dry mouth. Violation of the production of saliva can be different (from increasing viscosity to its almost complete absence) and it all depends on the severity of the pathology. In diabetes, dry mouth is often accompanied by increased appetite and thirst, but the condition does not improve with fluid intake. When examined by a dentist, swollen, reddened and dry mucous membranes are noticeable.

Violation of the production of saliva triggers a chain reaction, and pathological changes will affect the teeth in children, the mucous membrane. Due to a malfunction of the nervous system, the corresponding symptoms can form – a violation of the sensitivity of the mucosa, burning, tingling, and other unpleasant symptoms.

Due to the increased concentration of sugar in saliva, a decrease in the work of immune defense, persistent stomatitis, often of fungal origin, is recorded in the children’s mouth. In the corners of the mouth, a mycotic jam is formed. The main feature of these pathologies is a weak reaction to therapy, frequent relapses.

Due to persistent inflammation, edema, bleeding of the gums is present, sometimes even with the slightest trauma, for example, when eating, less often occurs spontaneously. The oral mucosa becomes extremely sensitive to injuries. Almost any mechanical effect can result in a violation of the integrity of the mucous membrane, and as a result, pain, bleeding. Often there is an accession of a secondary infection, stomatitis. As a result, the injured areas are covered with a dirty gray coating and ulcers and erosion remain in their place.

There are clear changes on the part of the periodontium. Gum disease – gingivitis, quickly turns into periodontitis, with a progressive course and the development of destructive processes in the bone tissue of the jaw. Pathological gingival pockets are formed, the flora that penetrates them will contribute to the melting of the partitions between the teeth and the thin bone plate of the jaws, which can cause teeth to loosen in children. With the continued existence of diabetes and the absence of adequate therapy, periodontal abscesses can form – an accumulation of pus in the gum pockets.

Teeth in children with diabetes are also at risk. Decreased local immunity, lack of saliva as the main protector, increased concentration of glucose in saliva, uncontrolled reproduction of flora will contribute to the development of caries. In diabetes, caries forms on caries-immune zones, for example, on tubercles, along the equator of a tooth. These places are protected from the formation of the destructive process anatomically.

The course of caries is lightning fast, it literally takes several weeks to complications – pulpitis, periodontitis. As a result, children can only remove the teeth, because conservative treatment is ineffective. Premature removal of milk teeth in children can provoke occlusion pathologies – crowding of teeth, dystopia, when one or several teeth extend beyond the dentition.

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