Decreasing Oral Well being Obstacles for Disabled Kids


By Claudia Rojas on February 9, 2023 in Normal oral well being

Father and son smiling

Whereas developmentally disabled kids do face additional challenges caring for their tooth and gums, the proper help makes it attainable for many to take care of a wholesome smile. That’s why it’s essential for folks and caregivers to assist with every day oral well being routines and make common dental visits a cushty expertise.

Let’s be taught extra concerning the challenges disabled kids face. Beneath, we’ll go over just a few methods to help the oral well being of youngsters with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, seizure problems, imaginative and prescient and/or listening to impairments and different cognitive and bodily disabilities.

A big nationwide examine confirmed that kids with developmental disabilities had fewer dental visits and extra unmet dental wants than different kids.1

Disabled Kids Are at Larger Threat for Oral Well being Points

It’s an unlucky fact that oral well being issues may be extra prone to develop amongst kids with disabilities attributable to behavioral, bodily and/or cognitive challenges. Listed here are just a few frequent points to look out for:

  • Tooth decay, gum illness and lacking tooth are frequent.
  • Enamel that aren’t aligned (an issue generally known as malocclusion), could make chewing and talking tough.
  • Misaligned tooth additionally create brushing challenges that improve the danger of gum illness, cavities, and oral accidents.
  • Habits that harm oral well being can develop, comparable to tooth grinding and clenching, holding meals within the mouth for too lengthy (pouching), mouth respiration, and/or tongue thrusting (pushing the tongue in opposition to the again of the tooth).
  • Delayed tooth eruption can happen in kids with Down syndrome. The primary child tooth could not seem till the kid is 2 years previous.
  • Mouth trauma and damage from falls or accidents are extra frequent in folks with seizure problems or cerebral palsy.

Why Are These With Developmental Disabilities Extra at Threat?

There may be quite a lot of danger components relying on a baby’s incapacity, however a few of the extra frequent causes embrace:

  • Persistent drugs: Some drugs have excessive sugar content material, which might trigger dry mouth that results in a buildup of plaque and micro organism. One other potential difficulty from treatment is extra gum progress, which might improve the quantity of micro organism within the mouth.
  • Meals pouching: Holding meals within the mouth for an prolonged time frame with out swallowing may cause extra sugar to stay to their tooth, making cavities extra doubtless.
  • Muscle points: It may be more difficult to sit down in a dental chair relying on the problem.
  • Challenges with brushing and flossing: Bodily disabilities could make a every day oral well being routine tough.

Getting ready for a Profitable Dentist Go to

A bit additional planning and preparation can go a good distance towards a profitable go to to the dentist. The truth is, that preparation begins previous to even scheduling an appointment. Start by performing some on-line analysis on suppliers close to you and discover a pediatric dentist who has expertise treating kids with disabilities.

When you’ve discovered the proper dentist, there are just a few methods you could all work collectively to create a constructive, wholesome expertise:

Days earlier than your youngster’s appointment, name the dentist’s workplace to debate making the appointment extra environment friendly and efficient:

  • Focus on something the workplace can do to assist make your youngster extra bodily comfy, particularly if the kid has issue sitting within the dental chair.
  • Make the dentist conscious of your youngster’s communication abilities and something the workplace can do to assist them really feel emotionally comfy.
  • Present an inventory of any drugs your youngster is on, in addition to any dietary restrictions or different challenges. Specifically, let your dentist know in case your youngster has a latex allergy, which happens extra usually amongst these with disabilities. This data can affect the therapy your dentist gives.
  • The day of the appointment, carry objects with you which will assist your youngster calm down, comparable to a favourite toy or moveable music participant.

After the Go to, Keep on with an Oral Well being Routine at Residence

It’s important to brush twice a day for 2 minutes every time and to floss every day. Proceed to help or supervise your youngster with their every day oral well being care if they’re having difficulties. (A floss holder or floss decide could make this course of simpler.)

Additionally look ahead to meals pouching or different points – if that is frequent, encourage rinsing the mouth out with water after meals and snack instances.

1 Obeidat, R., Noureldin, A., Bitouni, A. et al. Oral well being wants of U.S. kids with developmental problems: a population-based examine. BMC Public Well being


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