Lowering Oral Well being Obstacles for Disabled Kids


By Claudia Rojas on February 9, 2023 in General oral health

Whereas developmentally disabled youngsters do face additional challenges taking good care of their enamel and gums, the correct assist makes it potential for many to keep up a wholesome smile. That’s why it’s essential for folks and caregivers to assist with each day oral well being routines and make common dental visits a cushty expertise.

Let’s study extra in regards to the challenges disabled youngsters face. Under, we’ll go over a couple of methods to assist 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 youngsters with developmental disabilities had fewer dental visits and extra unmet dental wants than different youngsters.1

Disabled Kids Are at Increased Danger for Oral Well being Points

It’s an unlucky reality that oral well being issues could be extra more likely to develop amongst youngsters with disabilities because of behavioral, bodily and/or cognitive challenges. Listed here are a couple of frequent points to look out for:

  • Tooth decay, gum disease and lacking enamel are frequent.
  • Enamel that aren’t aligned (an issue often called malocclusion), could make chewing and talking tough.
  • Misaligned enamel additionally create brushing challenges that improve the danger of gum illness, cavities, and oral accidents.
  • Habits that injury oral well being can develop, reminiscent of enamel grinding and clenching, holding meals within the mouth for too lengthy (pouching), mouth respiration, and/or tongue thrusting (pushing the tongue towards the again of the enamel).
  • Delayed tooth eruption can happen in youngsters with Down syndrome. The primary child tooth might not seem till the kid is 2 years outdated.
  • 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 Danger?

There could be a wide range of threat components relying on a toddler’s incapacity, however among the extra frequent causes embody:

  • Persistent medicines: Some medicines have excessive sugar content material, which may trigger dry mouth that results in a buildup of plaque and micro organism. One other potential situation from medicine is extra gum development, which may improve the quantity of micro organism within the mouth.
  • Meals pouching: Holding meals within the mouth for an prolonged time period with out swallowing could cause extra sugar to stay to their enamel, making cavities extra seemingly.
  • Muscle points: It may be more difficult to take a seat in a dental chair relying on the difficulty.
  • Challenges with brushing and flossing: Bodily disabilities might make a each day oral well being routine tough.

Getting ready for a Profitable Dentist Go to

Somewhat additional planning and preparation can go a good distance towards a profitable go to to the dentist. In truth, 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 youngsters with disabilities.

When you’ve discovered the correct dentist, there are a couple of methods which you can all work collectively to create a optimistic, wholesome expertise:

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

  • Talk about something the workplace can do to assist make your little one extra bodily snug, particularly if the kid has problem sitting within the dental chair.
  • Make the dentist conscious of your little one’s communication abilities and something the workplace can do to assist them really feel emotionally comfy.
  • Present a listing of any medicines your little one is on, in addition to any dietary restrictions or different challenges. Specifically, let your dentist know in case your little one has a latex allergy, which happens extra usually amongst these with disabilities. This info can affect the remedy your dentist offers.
  • The day of the appointment, convey gadgets with you which will assist your little one calm down, reminiscent of a favourite toy or moveable music participant.

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

It’s important to brush twice a day for 2 minutes every time and to floss each day. Proceed to help or supervise your little one with their each day oral well being care if they’re having difficulties. (A floss holder or floss decide might 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. youngsters with developmental problems: a population-based examine. BMC Public Well being


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