Oral Care Risks That Children With Special Needs May Have

24 February 2015
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog

Taking care of a child with special needs can be challenging in many ways, including trying to help the child develop good oral care habits. Because children with special needs may have a difficult time sitting through dental visits, it can be hard for them to receive the oral care they need. This poses increased risks with oral problems, but there are other reasons children with special needs have more problems with their teeth too. Here are three risks your child may have with his or her teeth.

Increased Decay For Dietary Reasons

Some children with special needs are underweight, and doctors may recommend giving these kids certain foods and drinks to help them gain weight. One of these may be sports' drinks. While these can give a child certain nutrients, they can also be high in sugar. When a child consumes a lot of fluids like this, his or her teeth may develop more decay than normal.

Another dietary issue some children have is not getting enough fluids. If a child eats well but doesn't drink fluids, there is nothing to wash away the bacteria in his or her mouth. This too can lead to an increase in decay on the teeth.


If your child is taking any type of medication on a daily basis, your child might have an increased risk of oral problems. This is especially true with liquid medications that are in the form of sugary liquids. If you have to give your child medicine like this before bed, make sure that he or she brushes their teeth afterwards to wash away the sugary residue from the medicine.

According to Toothpicks, medications such as Dilantin and Phenobarbital are commonly used to control seizures, and many children with special needs may take these types of medicines. The problem is that studies have found correlations between these medications and gum disease. All types of medications may have some risks when it comes to the health of the teeth and gums, and you can talk to a pediatric dentist about this.

Birth Defects

While some children with special needs do not have any physical defects, there are many that do. If your child has physical defects that affect his or her mouth, tongue, face, or teeth, your child may have a higher chance of developing cavities and other oral problems.

These risks occur for many reasons, including the following:

  • Children sometimes cannot floss their teeth due to the way the teeth erupted
  • A child's tongue might not cooperate while brushing his or her teeth
  • Swallowing might be an issue, which may cause the child to keep too much saliva in his or her mouth at all times

If you would like to help your child keep his or her teeth as strong and healthy as possible, take him or her to a pediatric dentist that offers services for children with special needs. For more information, contact a business such as Russell Pollina, DDS.