Flourishing Families Special Needs Resource Guide 2020

Page 20

Emily Dolton

Tooth Smarts Early Preventative Care Improves Smiles for Kids with Disabilities Parents might not think it’s imperative to be concerned about dental

care before a child has teeth, but that simply isn’t true. Since the mouth is where most bacteria enters the body, tooth decay can be damaging to the whole body. It can enter the blood stream and cause heart issues, be breathed into the lungs, and cause brain inflammation and memory loss. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, 56 percent of all children will have some form of tooth decay by age 15, making it the most common chronic childhood disease; parents can’t start too soon with preventative care. Dr. Parvathi Pokala is a pediatric dentist with surgery privileges at Rady Children’s Hospital and an expert on treating children with special needs. “It is important… to avoid letting babies fall asleep with a bottle of milk or formula and [for] mothers to avoid nursing their babies in bed with them throughout the night,” she says. Milk and formula pooling on the gums during sleep can cause problems way before the teeth erupt.

20 • SNRFSD.org • SanDiegofamily.com • flourishing families 2020

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