disease, orthodontic problems, and bruxism (tooth grinding) are more common
in individuals with Down syndrome than the general population, and often cause
tooth loss. However, dental caries are less common. With the impaired immunity
and valvular disorders common in people with Down syndrome, periodontal disease
is a special health risk.
Nurses can play an important role by identifying and reporting early signs of periodontal disease, and encouraging good dental hygiene and regular check-ups. Because many teens with Down syndrome have motor impairments that can interfere with good oral hygiene, its important to check periodically to see that the adolescent is using proper techniques for brushing and flossing.