Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes has become a common medical problem in adults and children.  The recent estimates of people having diabetes in Canada and US have increased tremendously.  The number of children diagnosed with diabetes and the young age when the diagnosis is made is very alarming as well.  People diagnosed with diabetes require life-long commitments in controlling this problem, especially children who are diagnosed at a young age.  Proper management of diabetes prevents future complications with eyes, nerves, kidneys and heart.

People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease and other dental problems. Diabetes may weaken your body’s germ-fighting abilities, making your gum disease worse and slowing your healing.   High blood glucose levels in your saliva help bacteria thrive, which favours the growth of tooth decay-causing bacteria in your mouth.  Other oral problems diabetics are more prone to include: fungal infections, dry mouth and taste alteration.  At the same time, recent studies have found a reciprocal relationship with gum disease and diabetes control.  Gum disease may make your blood glucose levels harder to control.

We, at the children’s oral care centre, are committed to the special needs of people with diabetes.

  • We appreciate you keeping us informed of any changes in your condition and any medication(s) you might be taking.
  • We recommend preventive oral health care, including regular exam (more frequently as needed) and professional cleaning appointments.
  • We would like to see you immediately if you notice any signs and symptoms of gum disease: including bleeding, swelling, tenderness and shrinking of your gum.

We support innovations and improvements in diabetic care through new research.  Please join us to sponsor the upcoming event by Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – The Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes on June 10, 2012.  www.jdrf.ca/walk.  To learn more about how diabetes in affecting our children’s life, please read personal stories from our patients. (http://childrensoralcare.ca/my-fight-against-diabetes/).

Together, we can cure Diabetes!

I am the sole parent of 2 diabetic children.  My daughter, Heidi, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008, when she was 3 1/2 years old.  My son was diagnosed last year at the age of eight.  My daughter seemed to adjust to the disease quite well.  As she was so young when she was diagnosed, she really didn’t know any different.  Whereas my son, at the age of 8, had more difficulty accepting all the personal responsibilities associated with type 1 diabetes.

Both of the children need to have 7 or more finger-pokes per day to test their blood sugar levels (normal levels should be between 4 and 7 mmol/L).  Matthew and Heidi receive at least 3 injections of insulin per day.  In addition, my children must eat 6 carefully monitored and timed meals each day, and be aware of both hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) as either one is potentially dangerous.  Both of these children must follow this daily routine to stay alive. I am in constant communication with their school and daycare regarding Matthew and Heidi’s diabetic care.

Our family has to allow extra time throughout the day for our regular daily activities.  For an all-day outing, we must plan ahead, making sure to have enough diabetic supplies on hand such as lancets, test strips, needles, insulin, and extra snacks.  Everything that we do involves extra time management.  Sleepovers are very infrequent and are only with those parents and caregivers that we instill complete trust and comfort in.  My children sometimes feel pressured to finish all that they have to eat at snack/meal times in order not to feel left out when play groups are formed at school and daycare.  The children must be more diligent with their dental hygiene care. Health care is at the fore-front of our lives.

It is quite a challenge adjusting to a diabetic child’s care plan, and I must say that after my son was diagnosed, I have found myself to be very overwhelmed with the situation.  However, we find a way to manage.  I believe that we are on our way to accepting the challenge before us, and we are finding a routine that works best.

 

Since 2009, our family has been involved in the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes.  The goal of this event is to raise funds in the support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF),www.jdrf.ca/walk,  the leading charitable funder and advocate of diabetes in the world.  Last year, we raised over $3800.  Once again, this year, our family is participating in the Walk and raising funds for diabetes research.  It would mean so much to us to find a cure for this disease.  My children’s lives could be normal again.  No more finger-pokes. No more injections.  No more worries about potential health complications associated with diabetes in the years to come.  Diabetes is the leading cause of life threatening and debilitating complications such as blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage, heart attack, stroke, amputation and even death.  A cure would mean freedom for all my family.

 

Kathleen Share – Abbotsford, BC

 

Telus walk to cure diabetes
Please support Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes 2012!