Taking Care of Your Child’s Teeth with Down Syndrome:
Down Syndrome Awareness Day is a chance to spread awareness and love.
Taking care of children’s teeth is very important for every single child, but when it comes to children with Down Syndrome: the care standards should double!
There are many factors for us to pay attention to:
Here are a few reasons why taking your child with Down syndrome early on to the dentist:
Kids with Down Syndrome are very prone to gum inflammation and gum disease- that becomes periodontal disease later in adulthood. Gum disease is always tied up with improper brushing habits or lots of plaque accumulation.
This may not be the case in a child with Down Syndrome. The problem is that they have compromised immunity that leads to the bacteria infiltrating the healthy periodontist (tooth holding structure made up of bone and ligaments) that holds the tooth in place.
Unfortunately, neglecting care from an early age may lead to serious problems when these children are adults- perhaps even leading to early tooth loss in their adulthood!
It is so true that what we do in their childhood sets a great scene for later!
Children with Down Syndrome suffer from a large or flaccid tongue that can lead to problems in the bite . Jaw growth happens through equal growth of both jaws. However, when the tongue is larger or lacks normal muscle tone, it only stimulates the lower jaw. Leading to a characteristic face appearance of open mouth and tongue hanging outwards. This also leads to the top jaw not developing as it is destined. Again diagnosing these earlier will help children develop a better jaw relationship and develop a more symmetrical face.
Because the tongue has deep fissures and grooves the tongue is very prone to collect a lot of food particles that lead to chronic bad breath that further exacerbates the gum problem!
Small or Missing Teeth?
Really? They do have that unfortunately more common than the normal population of children their age. That’s why we need to screen for these anomalies, again catching them early on helps unwanted consequences.
To prevent cavities and gum disease, here is what we need to do:
- Brush twice daily with a soft brush.
- Limit the frequency of sugar.
- Visit your dentist regularly every 6 months.
Here is what you need to know:
Dental differences for Children with Down Syndrome
Delayed Tooth Eruption
Babies without Down syndrome typically get their first teeth at 6-12 months. Babies with Down syndrome get their first teeth between 12- 14 months; however, it can be as late as 24 months It is typical that a kid with Down syndrome may not get grow all 20 baby teeth until he/she is 4-5 years of age
Small and Missing Teeth
Children with Down syndrome have smaller than usual teeth and missing teeth. In addition, it is common for the teeth of kids with Down syndrome to have roots shorter than average. They are 50% more likely to having missing teeth.
Children with Down Syndrome have too large tongues for their mouth and they have grooves and fissures in the tongue. It is recommended to brush the tongue well because bacteria may get caught in these cracks.
Gum disease is one of the most common conditions in Kids with Down Syndrome because they have an impaired immune system lacking the natural protections against the diseases. It is important to brush twice daily to prevent gum disease, brushing and flossing keep the gums clean minimizing the inflammation. Otherwise, infections can be destructive, leading to loss of permanent teeth.
Problems with Bite
Children with Down Syndrome have small teeth which usually cause spacing between the teeth tending to have a small upper jaw. This can cause the permanent teeth to be “impacted” because there is no room for them to come in. The small upper jaw can make the top teeth not go over the bottom teeth; instead, the bottom teeth will be out further that the top teeth in the back of the jaw, the front of the jaw or both.
Orthodontics, braces, can improve some of these issues. Orthodontics require cooperation making the teeth more difficult to keep clean, so it can’t be possible for all kids. It may be a good idea to wait until your child is older and able to tolerate it a bit better. However, orthodontic appliances in the mouth may pose challenges to speech. Children without Down syndrome usually adapt their speech quickly; however, child with Down syndrome can face issues in speech, so adapting to the appliances will be very difficult.
Some research says that kids with Down Syndrome have lower risk of cavities; however, much of the research was conducted when child with Down syndrome lived in institutions and had very restricted diets. Children with Down syndrome can get cavities; therefore, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, limiting the amount of sugar and carbohydrates eaten, and flossing between teeth, help to prevent the development of cavities.
Heart defects are common in kids with Down Syndrome. You should consult with their doctor to determine if their child may need an antibiotic prior to dental cleaning.
How can you deal with Your Child’s Girding his/ her teeth?
Children are commonly grind their teeth. There is no need to worry about this because it doesn’t typically cause problems, and kids will grow out of it on their own way. However, children with neurological disabilities don’t grow it and grinding teeth can cause damage to the teeth. You should visit a dentist to examine your child teeth to ensure that the grinding doesn’t cause any problems.
How Can you find a Dentist?
You can consult a pediatric dentists have 2-3 years of education after dental school in the care of children, including kids with special needs such as Down syndrome.
We recommend you to visit following clinic for your child dental health:
My Pedia Clinic – Dubai Healthcare City Dubai, United Arab Emirates
How to care for your child’s with Down Syndrome teeth?
Here are some tips to care about your child’s teeth:
- Brush his/ her teeth twice daily.
- It is better to use fluoride toothpaste, and avoid using training toothpaste because they often don’t contain fluoride.
When to worry?
Some oral and dental conditions require your concerns, such as:
- Periodontal disease
- Delayed eruption
- Increased risk of dental caries
- Tooth anomalies