Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may face unique challenges when trying to maintain good dental health. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulty paying attention, impulsive behaviour, and hyperactivity. Any good pediatric dentist knows how these symptoms can make it difficult for children with ADHD to follow oral hygiene routines, potentially leading to an increased risk of dental problems. Here are a few key things to know about the dental health of children with ADHD.
Their Medications May Affect Dental Health
Children with ADHD may be prescribed medications to manage their symptoms. These medications can make it easier for children with ADHD, but it’s important to understand how they can sometimes negatively affect dental health. For example, some medicines can cause dry mouth, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay. Other medications can cause changes in the structure of the jaw, which can affect the alignment of the teeth. In turn, it could lead to your child needing orthodontic treatment. That’s why it’s important for parents that have children with ADHD to understand how their medication can affect them. It allows parents to figure out what they can do to keep their children’s oral health in check and their ADHD.
Brushing & Flossing May Be Challenging
Children with ADHD may be more likely to have poor oral hygiene habits, such as not brushing their teeth regularly or not using mouthwash. Since children with ADHD are prone to forgetfulness, they are more likely to forget and not be consistent with their oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing can be particularly challenging for children with ADHD, as they may have difficulty following a routine or remembering to do these tasks. Not having this addressed can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. It can be helpful to establish a consistent routine for oral hygiene and to use techniques such as reminders or rewards to encourage good habits. Thankfully, you can find plenty of ADHD resources about how you can help your child remember to keep up with their oral health.
Regular Dental Check-Ups Are Important
Whether you’re a child or an adult, ensuring you schedule a regular dental appointment is important. However, children with ADHD certainly need to keep up with their dental check-ups. Children with ADHD need to see a dentist regularly, as they may be more prone to dental problems. According to one study, children with ADHD had nearly 12 times the odds of having a high number of diseased, missing, and filled teeth. Meanwhile, the second reason children with ADHD are at risk for cavities is medication. Your pediatric dentist can help to identify any issues early on and provide the necessary treatment to prevent further problems.
Necessary Special Accommodations
Children with ADHD may need special accommodations in the dental office to help them feel more comfortable and to ensure that they receive the necessary care. For example, they may benefit from a more flexible appointment schedule or special techniques to help them relax. These are just a few ways to accommodate children with ADHD, but it’s best to talk to your pediatric dentist to discuss your child’s ADHD symptoms and plan a dental appointment that works for them.
Parental Involvement is Key
Parental involvement is crucial for the dental health of children with ADHD. Parents can help by establishing a consistent oral hygiene routine at home, supervising their child’s brushing and flossing, and ensuring they see a dentist regularly. They can also work with the dentist to identify challenges and develop strategies to overcome them.
As you can see, children with ADHD may face unique challenges when maintaining good dental health. Unlike their neurotypical peers, children with ADHD must have parents with a proactive approach to their dental care. Since they may be more likely to have poor oral hygiene habits, and their medications may affect their dental health. It is important for these children to see a pediatric dentist regularly and has the necessary accommodations to ensure they receive the care they need. Also, it’s clear parental involvement is also key in helping children with ADHD maintain good dental health. With the right pediatric dentist, you and they can effectively coordinate ways to keep your child’s smile pearly white!