As a parent of a child with special needs, it can feel like an exhausting feat trying to help them maintain a healthy smile. Fortunately, Dr. Justin and Dr. Sage offer special needs dentistry in McKinney and know what it takes to ensure a positive future for a child’s smile. Read on to learn 3 ways you can minimize the risk of tooth decay and gum disease and keep their teeth and gums healthy as they grow.
Common Oral Health Problems Among Children with Special Needs
For children with physical, mental, and behavioral special needs, the risk for dental caries, gum disease, and tooth loss is much more likely than other in other children. As a parent, you understand how difficult it can be to practice good oral habits at home, maintain regular dental appointments, and prevent certain medications from wreaking havoc on their teeth and gums.
Children with Down syndrome and genetic disorders can also suffer from late tooth eruption, congenitally missing teeth, crowding, misalignment, and gum disease. Those with mental disabilities or cerebral palsy can experience worn tooth enamel at a higher rate because they’re prone to bruxism (teeth grinding). Depending on the medications your child might need, they might dry out the mouth, causing them to be more susceptible to tooth decay, halitosis (bad breath), and an overgrowth of gum tissue, which can lead to gum disease.
3 Ways to Safeguard Their Smiles
To minimize the potentially harmful effects brought on by these challenges, there are 3 things you can do as a parent to take charge of your child’s oral health and set them on the path to a healthier smile:
- Be Consistent with At-Home Oral Habits: Establishing a routine will help your child to become familiar with morning and nighttime brushing and flossing rituals. Make sure you are wiping their gums until teeth erupt but switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and brushing twice a day once the first few teeth come through. It’s important that you ask your child’s pediatric dentist in McKinney about incorporating toothpaste and/or mouthwash based on your child’s needs and abilities.
- Provide Healthy Meals: No matter the special needs of your child, they are likely to want sugary or starchy foods. Unfortunately, these only worsen their chances of attaining a healthy smile. Talk to your child’s physician and/or dentist about which foods will be best for them, ensuring they consume nutrient-rich foods that positively impact their teeth and gum health.
- Find a Trusted Pediatric Dentist: Choosing a pediatric dentist who offers special needs dentistry will be one of the best decisions you can make, as they will serve as an ally. Dr. Justin and Dr. Chan are well-versed and trained in helping patients with various special needs and are ready to make accommodations to ensure these children get the care and attention they need.
The challenges of parenthood and raising a child with special needs are many but oral hygiene doesn’t have to be one. Talk to a pediatric dentist about effective techniques and methods you can use at home to encourage better oral health and watch as your child becomes more comfortable taking care of their smile.
About the Authors
Dr. Justin Chan has been a practicing pediatric dentist since 2012. Earning his dental degree at New York University College of Dentistry, he remains passionate about caring for and helping children of all ages grow and develop smiles that will last a lifetime. Dr. Sage Yoo is also a pediatric dentist at the practice. After studying electrical engineering at Purdue University, Dr. Sage went on to earn his doctorate and complete his residency in pediatric dentistry at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston. Both he and Dr. Justin are equipped to provide special needs dentistry to children who need additional attention and time. To learn more about how we can help you and your child, visit our website or call (469) 301-3212.