Improving Your Dental Care

Pediatric Dental Maintenance For Childhood Thyroid Disorders

Childhood thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can cause a number of systemic manifestations. For example, hypothyroidism, also called low thyroid function, can cause fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, constipation, and intolerance to cold temperatures. Conversely, hyperthyroidism, also known as an overactive thyroid, can cause weight loss, heart palpitations, diarrhea, and eye problems. In addition, if your child has a thyroid disorder, then they may require more frequent pediatric dental maintenance appointments to monitor the following dental problems that may accompany thyroid diseases. 

Excessive Tartar Formation

Pediatric thyroid disease can raise your child's risk for excessive tartar buildup even if they have a good oral hygiene routine. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can lead to hard tartar buildup under your child's gumline, behind their teeth, and in between their teeth.

Tartar formation occurs when plaque is not effectively removed. When this happens, the plaque gets hard and turns into tartar, also known as calculus. If the tartar is not removed by the dental professional during routine teeth cleaning appointments, the risk for periodontal disease and dental decay increases. Your child's dentist may also recommend that your child use a special anti-plaque mouthwash when they brush and floss for extra protection against tartar buildup. 

Increased Risk Of Periodontal Disease 

One of the most important reasons for keeping your child's pediatric dental maintenance appointments is because thyroid disease can raise the risk for periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an advanced type of gum disease that can damage the bones under the gums that support the teeth.

While the main cause for an increased risk for periodontal disease in children who have thyroid disorders is excessive tartar buildup, it may also be related to your child's prescription thyroid medication.

Certain drugs used in the treatment of thyroid disease can cause dry mouth and when the mouth becomes excessively dry, the small amount of saliva that is produced as a result of the medications may not be enough to wash away oral bacteria. Reminding your child to drink plenty of water can help prevent oral dehydration and will also help to wash away the bacteria that can cause periodontal disease.

Another cause of dry mouth in children with thyroid disorders is an enlarged tongue. While not all children will develop an enlarged tongue as a result of thyroid disease, it is not uncommon. An enlarged tongue can cause mouth breathing, especially at night. When your child breathes through their mouth, oral dryness can also occur. 

If your child has hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, have them see their dentist for regular pediatric dental maintenance appointments. When thyroid-related oral problems are well-managed, your child may be less likely to develop cavities, bite problems, bleeding gums, and periodontal disease.

Contact a local children's dentist to learn more.