Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that is characterized by developmental delays and intellectual disability. This disorder can cause a lot of health complications for your child, including oral health problems. Periodontal disease is the most serious oral health problem affecting people with Down syndrome; here are three things parents need to know.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease means gum disease. It occurs when plaque—a bacterial film—builds up on your child's teeth. The bacteria enter the gum tissue, leading to an infection. Mild infections, known as gingivitis, will make your child's gums red and sore, but can be reversed with good oral hygiene. More serious infections, known as periodontitis, can destroy the bones and ligaments that hold their teeth in place, and require more invasive treatments to cure.
How does Down syndrome cause periodontal disease?
Many factors contribute to periodontal disease in children with Down syndrome. Poor oral hygiene is a major factor. While some children with Down syndrome are able to brush and floss adequately on their own, many others need help with these tasks, according to NIH. Buying your child tools that are easier to use, like a power toothbrush and floss holder, can help them manage their oral care without needing to rely on you as much. If necessary, take over these tasks for your child.
The immune system is another factor. Children with Down syndrome have abnormalities in their immune systems that make them more susceptible to infections like periodontal disease. This means that bacteria has the upper hand in your child's mouth. To combat this, your child's dentist may tell you to give them mouthwash daily. Using mouthwash can be hard for children with Down syndrome, so if your child is having trouble swishing and spitting the mouthwash, you can apply the mouthwash with a spray bottle or a toothbrush.
How can you prevent it?
To prevent your child from getting periodontal disease, make sure to take them to the dentist regularly. Their dentist will professionally clean their teeth to get rid of any plaque that wasn't removed through brushing or flossing and examine their mouth for signs of periodontal disease.
The frequency of these visits will depend on how well your child's teeth are being cleaned at home; after examining their teeth, your child's dentist can recommend a cleaning schedule. For example, if they have an excellent oral hygiene routine, twice-yearly appointments may be sufficient, but if they're struggling to clean their teeth, they may need to go every month.
If your child has Down syndrome and their gums are sore, they may have periodontal disease and should be seen by a dentist, like Olson, Brant N DDS PA.Share
9 February 2016
After watching my mother navigate treatment for breast cancer in my early teens, I knew pretty much what to expect from my dad's diagnosis with prostate cancer. What I didn't know was how different chemotherapy and radiation can affect different people. My mother became very ill while my dad seemed to weather the treatments with few ill effects. I spent a long time researching the differences in treatments, types of chemotherapy, and how each one can react differently with the body. I created this blog to help others understand the same things, because I knew I couldn't be the only one unfamiliar with it. I hope it helps you if someone you love is facing treatment for any type of cancer.