No matter the age, children are often more prone to developing tooth decay and cavities early on. Why? Their minimal dexterity when it comes to brushing and flossing can result in plaque and tartar accumulations because of their inability to clean hard to reach places within their mouth. While these common problems can occur in all children, those with special needs can experience more severe and damaging issues along the way. To better understand why this happens and what can be done to prevent this from happening in your child, hear from a dentist who provides special needs dentistry in Katy.
Oral Health Challenges Facing Children with Special Needs
If you are a parent whose child has special needs, you understand the hurdles that can arise when attempting to take care of their oral health. Whether it is behavioral, medical, developmental, or emotional issues that make daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing difficult, you may feel as if common dental problems like tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and bad breath are inevitable.
Unfortunately, for many children with special needs, they are. Genetic disorders (i.e. Down Syndrome), physical disabilities (i.e. Cerebral Palsy), or emotional or behavioral disorders (i.e. Autism) often require parents spend more time attending to the medical aspects associated with these special needs than preventing possible dental problems that can have debilitating results.
Some of the most common obstacles children with special needs can experience include:
- Delays in tooth eruption
- Missing or crooked teeth
- Teeth grinding
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Poorly aligned bite
- Overgrowth of gum tissue
- Dry mouth
How to Minimize Problems from the Start
As you work to help your child take better care of their teeth and gums, it is best if you find a children’s dentist in Katy who understands and is equipped to treat children with special needs. With additional training and compassionate care, they can help your little one get excited about oral hygiene as well as offer valuable tips and suggestions on ways to improve dental habits at home.
Other ways you can avoid prevent and/or minimize potential problems include:
- Consistently washing your child’s gums after feedings when they are an infant
- Introduce a soft-bristled toothbrush and dental floss when teeth begin to erupt
- Use fluoride toothpaste as soon as your child’s teeth begin to show, and make sure you’re using the recommended amount suggested by their dentist
- Avoid allowing your child to eat sugary snacks or those consisting of large amounts of carbohydrates, as sugar and starch are breeding grounds for bad bacteria to grow
- Ensure they are drinking plenty of water to help increase saliva production and flush out food particles that can stick to tooth enamel
- Look for ways to make brushing, flossing, and rinsing fun, as this will encourage your child to get excited about taking care of their teeth
If you need suggestions on ways to improve dental habits, don’t be afraid to ask your child’s dentist. It may often depend on how they react or take to new activities that will determine how you ensure their oral health remains in good shape.
About the Author
Dr. Adeel Khan is a board-certified pediatric dentist in Katy, TX. Completing his Doctor of Dental Medicine at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine and graduating Magna Cum Laude, he promises to provide his patients with accessibility, affordability, expertise, and an animated personality. Whether he is providing a regular checkup or addressing a child who has special needs, he and his team are equipped and ready for all types of dental problems. For questions about the services we offer, visit our website or call (832) 789-8348.