Protect Teeth When Treating Lows

If you are treating low blood glucose in the middle of the night, your child will be at an increased risk for developing cavities: the longer that sugar remains on teeth, the greater opportunity for cavity-causing bacteria to do their damage. Consider the following to reduce this risk:

  • Ensure proper flossing and brushing before bedtime. (If children are under the age of 8 parents should help to do the flossing and brushing.)
  • After treating or preventing a night-time low with food or drink, dip your child’s toothbrush in water and do a quick brush, followed by a swallow of water. If brushing is not possible, having your child swish with water or having a drink of water, may help.
  • If you are feeding your child in the middle of the night on a regular basis, consider an application of a xylitol mouth spray prior to bed (see below).
  • Consider drinking liquid low treatments through a straw – less liquid may come in contact with the teeth.
  • Regular dental check-ups every 6-12 months ensure healthy teeth and gums.  Your dentist will be able to detect cavities early and can help to strengthen the tooth enamel with fluoride applications.

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How does Xylitol spray help?

CariFree® CTx2™ mouth spray contains xylitol, a sugar substitute that is added to some chewing gums. It reduces the acid production in the mouth which is responsible for cavities and it also prevents oral bacteria from sticking to the teeth. (You may know this product under its former name, Xyli-Tots.) As with any product containing xylitol, ingesting too much can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea. The other precaution is that it should be kept away from pets. It can be fatal to dogs if ingested because they lack the ability to metabolize xylitol.

The CariFree® CTx2™ spray comes in a box of four small (29ml) bottles; each spray bottle lasts for about 30-35 uses with a shelf life of approximately one year.  You may be able to purchase these products from your dentist or you can order them directly from National Dental in Barrie, Ontario: 1-800-392-1171. The cost is approximately $25/box of 4. They also have a mouth gel that serves the same purpose.

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The above information was adapted with permission from The Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic information handouts.

The above information was reviewed for content accuracy by clinical staff of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic.

This material has been developed from sources that we believe are accurate, however, as the field of medicine (in particular as it applies to diabetes) is rapidly evolving, the information should not be relied upon, as it is designed for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.

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