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Protecting All Children's Teeth (PACT): A Pediatric Oral Health Training Program
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Caries Risk

Children with special health care needs are at increased risk for developing caries for the following reasons:

  • Diet
  • Xerostomia
  • Difficulties performing oral hygiene
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and vomiting
  • Gingival hyperplasia and crowding of the teeth
  • Medications containing sugar
Xerostomia: Abnormal dryness of the mouth due to insufficient saliva production.

In children with special health care needs, uncoordinated chewing may leave more food in the mouth.

A weak, uncoordinated tongue may not be able to adequately clean all oral surfaces.

Gagging on the toothbrush, paste, or saliva may inhibit complete brushing of all surfaces.

An inability to spit may result in the swallowing of toothpaste.

Hyperplasia: An abnormal or unusual increase in the elements composing a part (as cells composing a tissue).
 
Fast Facts
 
Children with special health care needs are at increased risk for developing caries.
 
Maintaining proper oral hygiene is often difficult, so pediatricians should emphasize to caregivers that their efforts are important.
 
Efforts should be made to modify diet and medications to protect the teeth.

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