Diabetic children may get permanent teeth early

By Tom Nordlie • Published: August 6th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Most children look forward to getting their permanent teeth.

It’s another milestone on the road to adulthood.

But for reasons unknown, kids with diabetes sometimes get their permanent teeth early.

The phenomenon has been recognized for years but hasn’t been widely researched.

A study published recently in the journal Pediatrics attempts to clarify things.

In it, dentists examined two-hundred-seventy diabetic children and a control group of three-hundred-twenty healthy kids.

The subjects, who were six to fourteen years old, had every permanent tooth classified according to its developmental stage.

The findings showed that between the ages of six and ten, permanent teeth arrived on the same schedule for both diabetic and healthy subjects.

But for ages ten to fourteen it was a different story.

In this group, there was a ten to twenty percent chance that any permanent tooth in a diabetic child would be at least one stage further along than the corresponding tooth of a healthy child.

Girls were more likely to get their permanent teeth prematurely. So were overweight kids of both sexes.

And those early-arriving choppers might cause problems.

If they’re crowded together it could make brushing difficult. That could increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

So if you’re the parent of a diabetic child, be sure to keep those dental appointments.

That way, even if grown-up teeth show up sooner than expected, there’s less chance they’ll take a bite out of your child’s health.