If you have a child with special needs, then you have far more to worry about than his or her teeth. But adequate oral health is essential to a healthy body ,so your child deserves the very best dental care available.
Lower the Risk for Disease
Children with special needs may be at increased risk for gum disease or tooth decay because of medication, certain health conditions, or genetics. Treating every single dental problem isn’t always realistic, however. That’s why prevention is usually the best method.
Limit the amount of time your child’s teeth are exposed to acids and sugars which wear down enamel and promote cavities. Try to keep your child hydrated with water instead of juice, sports drinks, or soda. Save sweet drinks and other special treats for mealtime.
Are they a mouth breather? Consider using extra fluoride to keep decay at bay.
If your child resists brushing and flossing, encourage them to at least rinse with water after meals. This will help wash away some harmful acids.
Attempt Brushing and Flossing, if Possible
Clean your child’s teeth each day to the extent they can handle. Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to prevent decay and a very soft brush to avoid irritating the gums. Floss as much as your child will tolerate.
Find a Compassionate Dentist
Most general and pediatric dental practices are equipped to meet the needs of your entire family, including those with special needs.
The earlier you start bringing your child to the dentist, the sooner they’ll adjust to the idea and relax. Introducing dental care later in childhood could be a traumatic experience. Your child may need frequent preventative appointments to keep their smile healthy.
Ask a dentist near you for more suggestions on caring for the smile of your child with special needs.
Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
More and more research suggests that oral health affects a person’s overall health. While the majority of people are able to care for their teeth, there are many people who do not have the mental or physical capability to do so. Within this group, there are increasing numbers of cavities, gum disease, and missing teeth. Reasons for poor oral health among adults with physical and mental disabilities vary, but with good dental care these individuals can achieve optimal health.
A gap in communication is often associated with special needs dentistry. While a dentist may tell a patient, “You need to brush your teeth and floss every day,” their special needs patient may not fully understand what is being said.
There is also the physical demand of oral health that needs to be taken into consideration. Flossing is hard work. One’s fingers must be dexterous to thread floss around fingers and between teeth, and often time people with disabilities lack the dexterity to do so. Also, brushing one’s teeth requires standing to see in a mirror, spit into a sink, and rinse the mouth. Many people take for granted how the seemingly simple activity such as standing is challenging to others.
Routine dental cleanings are essential to oral health. Special needs patients such as dental patients with physical and developmental disabilities may find their dental appointments difficult or frightening. There are dentists who specialize in special needs dentistry and who work hard to provide a gentle experience. Sedation is common among those who have disabilities because it takes away anxiety during the dental procedure and the dentist is able to do a thorough cleaning and evaluation. With offices that provide special needs, the atmosphere is calm and keeps the needs of their patients in mind.
If you or your loved one is a candidate for special needs dentistry, don’t wait. With the link between oral health and general health fully supported, a healthy mouth will lead to optimal health for your whole body.
Posted on behalf of David Kurtzman
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