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Recently we discussed the importance of dental care and choosing a dental provider for children with an Autism diagnosis. The reality, however, is that most children with special needs of all types are at a higher risk for problems and diseases directly related to poor or nonexistent oral care.

In fact, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, children with emotional and physical developmental disabilities are at a higher risk for oral problems including cavities, enamel irregularities, gum and oral infections, delayed tooth eruptions and bite problems. The good news is, that when parents take an active role in assisting their differently abled child with routine, daily oral care, disease, and other problems are avoidable.

Like any other intervention, providing excellent oral care for your child takes care, planning, time, and intention. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of resources designed specifically for the parents of children with special needs, with information ranging from how to choose a dentist to physically creative ways to assist in the tooth brushing process.

  1. Oral Health for Families with Special Health Care Needs: S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (The most comprehensive guide we found, covering all manner of disability and obstacles when caring for children with special needs.)

    “This resource guide is designed to give parents and caregivers tips on keeping their child’s or teen’s mouth healthy. The sheets are easy to understand and can help parents take an active role in establishing and maintaining good oral health for their child. General topics include taking care of teeth, selecting the right toothbrush, adapting toothbrushes, addressing challenges, providing good nutrition, encouraging safety, and going to the dentist.”

  2. Oral Health for Children with Special Needs: United Concordia
  3. Health Challenges in Down Syndrome and Strategies for Care: National Institutes of Health
  4. Find a dentist who specializes in caring for children with special needs (an online search portal): Special Care Dentistry Association

At One with the Water, we know that our body systems work in concert together to create a full picture of mental and physical health. When one is out of balance, infected, or functioning poorly, it has a negative impact on our overall health and wellness. Oral health has a potentially enormous impact on your child’s comfort and overall physical state. The good news is that oral disease is preventable, and care doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Use the simple tips and tricks above to optimize your child’s oral health

Molly Huggins

Molly is a member of our creative team, mom of four water-loving babies, and a fierce advocate for CPR training and really early swim instruction.

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