Dental care is usually not the top priority of parents with special needs kids. However, children with disabilities have almost twice as much chance of having or developing oral health problems. There are certain genetic disorders in which tooth malformations, tooth decay, and gum diseases can be seen. Others may not cause extensive teeth abnormalities but may put the kids at risk of dental disease. An example is cerebral palsy.

Causes of dental deterioration in kids with cerebral palsy

  • Difficulty in flossing and brushing due to impaired muscle coordination, increased gag reflex and hyperactive bite
  • Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Behavioral difficulties
  • Excessive teeth grinding (bruxism) leading to enamel wearing
  • Medication with high sugar content or medication which might reduce saliva production
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder which may erode teeth
  • Some kids can have open bite and excessive drooling

Causes of dental deterioration in kids with cerebral palsy

  • Difficulty in flossing and brushing due to impaired muscle coordination, increased gag reflex and hyperactive bite
  • Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Behavioral difficulties
  • Excessive teeth grinding (bruxism) leading to enamel wearing
  • Medication with high sugar content or medication which might reduce saliva production
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder which may erode teeth
  • Some kids can have open bite and excessive drooling
cerebral palsy

How to treat dental patient with cerebral palsy

If the patient has open bite or crowding in the mouth it can be improved by orthodontic treatment but it is difficult in kids with cerebral palsy because braces might lead to bad oral hygiene.

Gag reflex is more in such patients so dentists should adjust the position of patient’s chin to reduce the gag. Put the chin down while placing instruments in mouth.

Parents should start bringing these kids to the dentist from an early stage so the children are familiar with the dentist. Parents and doctors should explain the procedure to the child prior to starting the treatment in the language and words the child can understand. This way the cognitive deficits can be controlled.

Dentists should avoid doing things that might trigger the patient’s anxiety which can lead to involuntary body movements.

FAQs

How to perform daily oral hygiene care for cerebral palsy?

Brushing, flossing, and rinsing should be a daily habit. This includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing after meals and after the medication intake. The dental health of children with cerebral palsy.

How do people with cerebral palsy brush their teeth?

Children with cerebral palsy often have problems cleaning their teeth on their own because their jaw muscles are so tight or because they can’t hold their toothbrush. If your child is unable to brush their teeth independently, you will need to do it for them.

Are there any specialized dental products for children with cerebral palsy?

Yes, there are adapted dental products, such as toothbrushes and flossing aids, designed to make oral care more manageable for children with cerebral palsy.

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