Dear Doctor Magazine Issue 17 - (Page 58)
Managing Tooth Decay In Children With Chronic Diseases
Poor oral health puts kids with special needs at risk
by Donald L. Chi, DDS, PhD & Peter Milgrom, DDS
f we’re lucky, life is a chronic condition! Chronic is derived from the ancient Greek word “chronos” meaning time, but in the medical sense the word has come to be associated with a variety of long-standing diseases and disorders. Almost all children endure a variety of different health problems during infancy and childhood, but for most the problems are mild, they come and go, and they do not interfere with daily life and development. In fact, it can be argued that childhood illnesses play a role in the development of the immune (resistance) system. However, for some children with chronic health conditions (also known as children with special healthcare needs), everyday life is affected throughout childhood and beyond.
crucial to pediatric dentistry, particularly when advances in therapy and technology have extended the lives of more children and adolescents with chronic diseases. Primary (baby) teeth are important to all children for normal growth and development, for eating, speech, and normal social development. In addition, they act as space-holders for permanent adult teeth. This is especially important for children with special healthcare needs, many of whom are at risk for failure to thrive and nutritional deficiencies, and are more susceptible to dental decay. Special dental considerations and care are required for children with chronic diseases and disorders. A wide spectrum of chronic conditions afflicts children, which can affect their intellectual capacity, behavior and physical abilities, and may compromise their ability to seek dental care. There are many common issues and helpful strategies that ensure the potential for normal oral growth and development, to prevent dental disease and maintain health. When implemented they can facilitate and complement their overall social and emotional health––and well-being.
Dental care is the most neglected healthcare need of children and adolescents who have chronic conditions and diseases.
Dental care is the most neglected healthcare need of children and adolescents who have chronic conditions and diseases. Understanding children’s medical conditions is
58 DEAR DOC TOR
W W W. D E A R D O C TO R . C O M
If you would like to try to load the digital publication without using Flash Player detection, please click here.