Good dental care especially important for children on special diets

It is thought that currently, in the USA, around 17% of children have special healthcare needs of some sort which may present more of a challenge to oral health than a normal child’s diet.

Parents may not know, for example, the alternative foods and, especially, high carbohydrate drinks for underweight children can cause tooth demineralisation. Medicines concealed in syrups and drinks, often easier for children to swallow, and often given at bedtime, can allow sugars to pool around teeth and gums, causing decay. It may also be difficult for some children to brush their own teeth properly. (If you are brushing a child’s teeth for them it is often easier to do it from behind which allows you to see what you are doing and to control the movement of both the child's head and the toothbrush. This approach is especially helpful with wheelchair-bound children.)

Children should continue with the diet and medications as directed by their physician, is the advice of the Academy of General Dentistry, but they may need to rinse their mouths with water and brush their teeth more frequently. And by the time they are 12 months old, they should be seeing a dentist who should be aware of their medical history and can therefore advise appropriately on dental care and hygiene.

More from the Academy of General Dentistry

Courtesy of Science Daily

First published in July 2010


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