Common Dental Issues for Children with Special Needs

January 3, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — tinysmiles @ 3:02 am
parent helping child with special needs brush teeth

As a parent of a child with special needs, you’re probably acquainted with the challenges of ensuring their health remains top-notch. The same goes for their oral health. Consequently, there are numerous dental concerns that are prevalent for children in this demographic, but luckily, there are ways to keep them at bay. Keep reading to explore these common issues and discover ways to assist your child in maintaining a healthy smile.

What Oral Health Problems Are Common Among Children with Special Needs?

Children with behavioral, physical, or mental special needs may encounter greater challenges in maintaining oral health. They face elevated risks of gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss due to things like impaired motor function, and medications that contain high amounts of sugar.

Additionally, those with Down syndrome and certain genetic conditions may contend with tooth alignment issues, delayed tooth eruption, crowding, and congenitally absent teeth. Specific medications can also induce oral health issues, including tooth decay, dry mouth, halitosis, and gum overgrowth, potentially leading to gum disease.

Moreover, children with cerebral palsy or mental conditions may undergo accelerated enamel wear compared to their counterparts without such conditions. This heightened susceptibility is attributed to an increased likelihood of developing bruxism, a condition marked by tooth grinding and jaw clenching.

3 Ways to Safeguard Your Child’s Smile

Thankfully, several strategies exist to reduce the likelihood of dental problems for children with special needs, including:

  • Be consistent: Develop a consistent routine to acquaint your child with morning and nighttime tooth brushing. Begin by gently wiping their gums before their teeth emerge. Transition to a soft-bristled toothbrush as their initial teeth appear. Encourage brushing twice daily, in the morning and before bed.
  • Provide healthy meals: It’s essential for both children with and without special needs. Monitor their consumption of sugary, starchy, acidic, and sticky foods as these can negatively impact their dental health. Consult with your child’s dentist or doctor to identify the most suitable foods for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
  • Find a trusted pediatric dentist: Choose a pediatric dentist who specializes in special needs dentistry to ensure your child receives the tailored care they require. It’s crucial to select a dentist who can accommodate their unique needs effectively. They can determine the suitability of toothpaste or mouthwash in their regimen, tailored to their requirements and capabilities.

By being proactive in addressing your child’s dental needs and seeking out specialized care when necessary, you can help ensure their oral health remains a priority. With the right support and guidance, you can empower your child to maintain a healthy and radiant smile for years to come.

About the Practice

Led by Dr. Natalie Gardner and her devoted team, Upper Dublin Pediatric Dentistry is dedicated to delivering exceptional dental care for children across all age groups. With a focus on preserving bright and radiant smiles, they offer valuable at-home advice for preventing common dental concerns in children with special needs. To discover more about their services tailored to nurturing growing smiles or to schedule an appointment with their experienced Fort Washington team, contact Upper Dublin Pediatric Dentistry at (267) 481-7707 or visit their website.

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