Nutrition and oral health considerations in children with special health care needs: implications for oral health care providers

Pediatr Dent. 2010 Jul-Aug;32(4):333-42.


Children with special health care needs are at increased risk for oral diseases. The purpose of this article was to discuss: nutritional and oral health factors routinely observed in most chronic childhood disorders; dietary modifications associated with select systemic disorders and how they may impact oral health in children; and the following factors common to chronic disorders associated with diet modifications-decreased appetite and increased nutritional risk; frequency of food intake; parental overindulgence; long-term use of cariogenic medications; and xerostomia. Characteristics of childhood disorders that require dietary modifications (congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, cancer, AIDS/HIV, diabetes mellitus, and phenylketonuria) are summarized. In addition, healthy dietary modifications and oral health recommendations are suggested. Implementation of these recommendations can assist the dentist and dental team as they join physicians and nutritionists in delivering the best possible care to children with special health care needs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Dental Care for Children*
  • Dental Care for Chronically Ill*
  • Humans
  • Mouth Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tooth Diseases / prevention & control*