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 children with Down syndrome
have motor impairments that can interfere with good oral hygiene, its
important to check periodically to see that the youngster is using proper techniques
for brushing and flossing.