Dental Health & Down Syndrome: How Parents Can Help Their Children Have a Healthy Mouth

October 25, 2019 Developmental System, Down syndrome, October 2019 Feature - Developmental 0 Comments

Dental health is important to one’s overall well being. Most of us do what we can each day to prevent oral issues by visiting our dentist and having a dental routine at home. However, for children with Down syndrome, they may be at a higher risk for dental issues.

While this can be challenging, there are ways to work to prevent oral problems. I have been practicing dentistry for more than 17 years, and have experience working with children who have Down syndrome. This article will discuss some common dental issues in children with Down syndrome may suffer from and how parents can be prepared to deal with and prevent them.



Dental Issues

There are a number of dental issues that parents who have children with Down syndrome should be aware of and prepared to deal with. Here are the most common:

Periodontal disease

This is a disease that affects the gums and can cause one’s oral health to deteriorate rather quickly. It’s most often caused by poor oral hygiene, bruxism, and underlying issues with the immune system. This can lead to loss of adult teeth if left untreated. Luckily, parents can work with their children on preventing this disease.

Malocclusion

This condition is seen in a lot of individuals with Down syndrome as a result of delayed eruption of permanent teeth. This leads to an open bite, poor positioning of teeth, and an increased risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay. While this can’t be prevented, there are plenty of options to help combat the condition.

Other Tooth Anomalies

There are other dental abnormalities that your child may experience which can affect the form, function, or position of the mouth. As mentioned, delayed tooth eruption is one of them as well as missing teeth or irregular tooth formation. If your child is showing signs of any of these, visit your dentist to discuss the best way for your child to have a healthy mouth.

Dental issues can be confusing and challenging. Luckily, there are ways to prevent them and work through them and parents should use their child’s pediatric dentist as a source of information and support.



Going to the Dentist

To help work through some dental issues that children with Down syndrome may face, parents should take them to the dentist. Dental visits are the best way for your child to receive an examination of their dental health to uncover any issues. Plus, you and your child’s dentist can discuss any necessary care and treatment plans.

It’s also best to begin taking your child to the dentist at an early age to help them have the healthiest mouth possible. Not only is this a good idea for combatting oral issues, but it will also help your child be more comfortable at the dentist as they get older.

Dental Care at Home

Parents should also help their children develop an effective oral care routine at home. A good routine includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and regularly rinsing with an oral rinse. Certain behavioral issues or sensitivities may make implementing a routine more difficult, however, there are ways to work through this.

Start by making a child’s dental routine fun. You can do this by turning brushing and flossing time into a dance party and play music or set small incentives to help them get through their routine.

Diet can also play a big role in a child’s dental health. Try to limit the amount of sugar that your child eats as it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Find your child’s favorite fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and whole grains as these are rich in vitamins and nutrients that are essential to healthy teeth and gums.

Dental issues can happen to anybody, but children with Down syndrome are at a greater risks or some oral complications. Parents can help them by knowing some of the common issues, taking their child to the dentist, and practice proper oral care at home. Everyone deserves to have a healthy mouth, as it’s essential to one’s overall well-being. While oral problems can be challenging, never give up on finding ways to provide the best dental care for your child.

Resources:
Down Syndrome and Dental Care
Questions to Ask Your Dentist Before an Appointment

– guest post by Dr. Greg Grillo: Facebook || Dentably 



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