Diabetes puts Children at Risk for Tooth-Related Disease

A high incidence of tooth-related ‘periodontal’ diseases among a sample of Malaysian children with diabetes suggests these conditions should be given more attention, as is the case with other co-morbidities. Periodontal disease is the sixth most common co-morbidity in people with diabetes. Researchers at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) examined 64 children, finding a high prevalence (96.8%) of periodontal disease in those with diabetes compared to those without. More than 6% of the children with diabetes who had periodontal disease were found to have untreated or a severe form of periodontal disease.

The severe presentation of periodontitis found from an examination of one of the diabetic children

“Our data highlights the need to include dental care in the multidisciplinary approach to improve the quality of diabetes care among Malaysian children,”
Munirah Yaacob of IIUM’s Faculty of Dentistry.

Periodontal examination of diabetic children

The assessments showed that children with diabetes demonstrated more bleeding gums, deep periodontal pockets, poor oral hygiene, and early tooth loss compared to children who did not have diabetes.

“Much more attention should be given to diabetic children's oral health, just like we do with other diabetic co-morbidities,” says Yaacob.  “We recommend compulsory twice yearly routine dental check-ups and prevention programs for children and adolescents with diabetes to ensure early disease detection, the delivery of appropriate periodontitis treatment, and the prevention of tooth loss.

Periodontal examination of diabetic children at Putrajaya Hospital

Future research should involve a larger number of children with diabetes in epidemiological surveillance, and focus on the effects of periodontal treatment on periodontal health and glycaemic control in these children.