ORAL HEALTH OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL HEALTH CARE NEEDS

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ORAL HEALTH OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL HEALTH CARE NEEDS

Approximately 9.3 American million children (nearly 13%) have special health care needs, including developmental disorders, systemic disorders and sensory impairments. These children have more oral disease and greater unmet dental needs than the general pediatric population. Petrova et al from the University of Minnesota studied the relationship between these children’s level of functioning and their oral health. In addition to giving demographic information, parents of 154 children aged 2 to 16 years completed a 39-question version of the Survey Interview Form of the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales (SIFVABS) designed to measure the children’s level of functioning across 6 domains:

  • listening and understanding

  • talking

  • daily living

  • relating to others

  • playing and using leisure time

  • physical activity

The children’s oral hygiene was evaluated on a 3-point scale (poor, fair, good); their gingival health was evaluated on a 4-point scale (within normal limits, mild gingivitis, moderate gingivitis, severe gingivitis).

Most of the children had ≥1 developmental disorder, with epilepsy/seizure disorder (36%), cerebral palsy (31%) and autism spectrum disorder (25%) the most common. The most frequent systemic health issues included gastroesophageal reflux disease and the presence of a gastrostomy tube (41%), asthma (18%) and cardiovascular disease (13%); 18% of the children had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity dis-order, while 7% had cleft lip and/or palate.

Higher levels of talking skill correlated with better lev-els of oral hygiene and gingival health. Higher levels of listening and understanding correlated to better parental perception of children’s oral health state and better lev-els of oral hygiene. Children with special health care needs face problems with oral health care as well, including higher levels of dental caries, malocclusion and broken teeth. Education of the parents of these children can help meet their needs.

Petrova EG, Hyman M, Estrella MRP, Inglehart MR. Children with special health care needs: exploring the relation-ships between patients’ level of function-ing, their oral health, and caregivers’ oral health-related responses. Pediatr Dent 2014;36:233-239.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SEALING OUT TOOTH DECAY

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The chewing surfaces on the back teeth—the premolars and molars—include numerous depressions and grooves. These indentations, called fissures and pits, help us grind our food into particles small enough to swallow.

Unfortunately, toothbrush bristles cannot get into the smaller fissures and pits to remove tiny bits of food and plaque bacteria that accumulate on the back teeth. This means that even regular brushing and flossing may not be enough to keep those fissures and pits clean.

The result? These bacteria turn the sugars and starches we eat and drink into acids that attack tooth enamel. And that attack can result in tooth decay.

One solution to the problem of cleaning the fissures and pits is the use of dental sealants. Made from a plastic material, sealants are placed over the chewing surfaces of premolars and molars. They protect the tooth surfaces that are the hardest to keep clean and thus are the most susceptible to decay from food and bacteria.

Applying dental sealants is quick and easy. After we perform a thorough cleaning of the tooth, the sealant is placed over the chewing surface of the tooth, where it bonds to the enamel. The sealant typically lasts for several years, protecting the tooth surface from decay. If the sealant shows any signs of deterioration, we simply reapply it.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported overwhelming evidence that dental sealants reduce tooth decay in children and adolescents. Ronald L. Tankersley, former president of the American Dental Association, noted, “The two most prevalent dental diseases, dental caries and periodontal disease, are both preventable. The proper use of dental sealants at an early age is an effective tool for preventing dental caries in the most susceptible patients.”

Sealants alone, though, can’t replace good dental care. Twice-daily brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to the dentist, are still the mainstays of everyone’s effort to keep teeth healthy. But sealants add another weapon in the fight against tooth decay.

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Children Perform Better in School With Healthier Teeth

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Children Perform Better in School With Healthier Teeth

When you have children, sometimes you can predict their sick days and other times, it’s unpredictable.  One thing you can be certain of is that children inevitably get sick.  When kids are sick, it’s an inconvenience to both the parent and the child – children are absent from school and parents end up taking time off work.  

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Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist in Brantford

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Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist in Brantford

YOUR BRANTFORD PEDIATRIC DENTIST BLOG

There are several aspects you should consider when choosing a pediatric dentist over over a general dentist. Our pediatric dentists in Brantford receive extensive and additional training of two to three years after completing dental school. This extensive training helps them specialize in dental problems and care that is specific to children, young and teens.  

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New Study Finds Saliva Can Prevent Cavities

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New Study Finds Saliva Can Prevent Cavities

YOUR BRANTFORD PEDIATRIC DENTIST BLOG: New Study Finds Saliva Can Prevent Cavities 

According to a study found by our Brantford Pediatric Dentist written by Harvard professor Erica Shapiro Frenkel it is stated that saliva’s composition of 0.5% mucus has salivary mucins which are microbiome agents active in providing a safe environment for oral hygiene.

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An Apple a Day... Is there truth to it?

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An Apple a Day... Is there truth to it?

YOUR BRANTFORD PEDIATRIC DENTIST BLOG: An Apple a Day... Is There Truth to It?

Now you’ll have to admit that your mom was right when she said: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. According to a new study found by Brantford Pediatric Dentist Peachtree Kids Dental from the Appalachian State University’s professor David Nieman...

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