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Care of Teeth and Gums for People With Cerebral Palsy

Good dental care is very important for people with cerebral palsy because they are prone to teeth and gum problems. It is often very difficult for people with cerebral palsy to clean their teeth. These difficulties often are related to having:

  • Jaw muscles and joints that don't relax.
  • Problems with gagging and biting down on their toothbrushes.
  • Sensitive tongues and mouths.
  • Less protective coating (enamel) on their teeth.
  • Teeth that are not correctly positioned.
  • Problems holding and using a toothbrush.

Help your child or other family member with cerebral palsy keep his or her teeth and gums healthy by:

  • Providing special cleaning devices such as electric toothbrushes.
  • Buying toothpaste for sensitive gums.
  • Scheduling regular visits to a dentist for teeth cleaning.
  • Being aware that some people with cerebral palsy may never be able to care for their own teeth and gums. Be prepared to provide consistent assistance if your family member needs it.
  • Talking with an occupational therapist about other ways you can help with teeth and gum care.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last RevisedSeptember 20, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 20, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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