Oral care management for children with special needs can be difficult, as they may have impairments that interfere with proper oral hygiene. Parents of children with special needs may unintentionally neglect their child’s dental health for other more urgent medical needs or lack of awareness.
There are many oral diseases to which children with special needs are more susceptible. Our experienced pediatric team at My Kids Dental has identified the following as the most common.
Higher risk of oral disease
Children with special needs have trouble maintaining proper oral care, which causes their teeth to suffer. Some of the most common oral diseases afflicting children are tooth decay, enamel hypoplasia, and misaligned teeth.
Tooth decay is prevalent among children with special needs for several reasons. First, the heightened risk of enamel hypoplasia and misaligned teeth increases tooth decay rates.
Second, limited dexterity can make brushing teeth further back in the mouth difficult. Unhealthy eating habits and a dry mouth also cause tooth decay.
Enamel hypoplasia is a dental condition with thin or no enamel on a tooth, particularly the upper front teeth and molars. Children born with low birth weight, genetic syndromes, or developmental defects are at higher risk.
Enamel hypoplasia is characterized by teeth with grooves, pits, white spots, chipped enamel, and yellow or brown stains.
Children with mental disorders, craniofacial defects, or cerebral palsy are more susceptible to misaligned or crowded teeth.
The intraoral and extraoral muscles do not act together, causing upper and lower jaw issues, including improper spacing between teeth, overbite or underbite, open bite, and crossbite.
Dental care barriers for children with special needs
Though children with special needs suffer from higher rates of oral disease, they face many dental care barriers.
A sample of these barriers include:
- Other urgent medical care causes the parents and child to ignore dental care
- Uncooperative behavior from the child
- Parents may have a limited understanding of the importance of dental care
- Expensive dental treatments
- Difficulty finding specialists experienced in helping children with special needs
Because of these barriers, it can be difficult for children with special needs to get the dental care they require to keep their teeth strong and healthy. At My Kidz Dental in Phoenix, Arizona, we understand those difficulties, and our experienced pediatric team can help your child receive the care and understanding they deserve. Call us, or schedule an online appointment to keep your child’s teeth healthy.