Everyone needs a healthy mouth for practical, aesthetic and social reasons. Children with disabilities (AMEA) are more likely to have oral problems, while at the same time it is up to others to take care of and ensure their oral health.
Tooth problems such as caries or gingivitis / periodontitis can manifest to all children. However, children with disabilities are at greater risk of developing dental problems than the general population due to aggravating factors that prevent proper daily dental care. Some factors mentioned in the literature are: swallowing problems, decreased saliva flow, uncontrolled physical movements, gastro esophageal reflux or frequent medication or genetic factors that result in tooth deficiencies or problems in the formation of teeth.
Which dental problems are most common?
- Tooth eruption problems: Tooth eruption depends on genetic factors, the development of the jaws, the muscular forces exerted in the mouth and the use of drugs. It may be delayed, accelerated or discontinued. Some children may not have their first teeth erupted until they are 2 years old.
- Caries: become worse by improper diet, poor oral hygiene, prolonged use of baby bottles and / or certain medications.
- Periodontitis: occurs at a younger age in some children. Gingival hyperplasia is associated with taking certain medications while a weak immune system increases the risk of developing periodontal disease.
- Conclusion problems: overcrowding and misalignment of upper and lower jaw teeth due to muscle abnormalities, delayed tooth eruption or misaligned jaw growth. Occlusion problems create chewing and speech problems, increase the risk of gum and periodontal disease, caries and dental trauma.
- Mouth sores such as grinding and clenching of teeth, mouth breathing, biting the lips.
- Dental abnormalities such as tooth changes in size, shape or number.
- Dental trauma or facial injuries that occur most often in those children.
Tips for the daily care of children with special needs
- Do not give food or objects placed in the mouth of an adult to the child because of the transmission of bacteria and strains associated with caries.
- Children need your help for brushing their teeth.
- If the child has difficulty holding the toothbrush, adjust the toothbrush handle properly with tape to the child's hand, forming a handle so that he/she can hold it.
- Proper nutrition is good for the body but also for oral health. Frequent intake of acidic foods or carbonated drinks and beverages (soda, lemonades, etc.), as well as frequent consumption of sweets, can cause tooth decay.
- The use of fluoride toothpaste protects teeth from tooth decay.
- Frequent visits to the dentist are important because disease prevention is usually much more easier for children than treatment.
- Do not allow the child to sleep with a bottle containing anything else other than water.