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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

A Comprehensive Review of the Relationship Between Oral Health and Down Syndrome

February 2024 | Botero et al. - Current Oral Health Reports (2024)


Purpose of Review: Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) may be more susceptible to oral disorders as a result of a combination of genetic factors, immunological disturbances, anatomical anomalies, and probable difficulties in maintaining adequate oral hygiene. Within this context, we provide a comprehensive review of the most important relationships between oral health and Down syndrome.

Recent Findings: Recent investigations suggest that a diminished diversity in the oral microbiome could emerge as a critical factor affecting oral health in individuals with DS. Plausible anatomical and metabolic peculiarities inherent to DS, including alterations in salivary characteristics, the presence of obstructive sleep apnea, elevated end glycation product levels, and hypothyroidism, may exert a significant influence on the composition and dynamics of the oral microbiome. A comprehensive analysis of the evidence implies a reduced occurrence of caries in individuals with DS. Furthermore, a recent meta-analysis indicates that gingivitis (OR 1.93; 95% CI 1.09–3.41) and periodontitis (OR 3.93; 95% CI 1.81–8.53) are more frequent in people with DS and strongly associated. Oral function in DS is also affected resulting in speech, breathing and eating problems. These findings underscore the necessity to implement targeted educational and awareness programs, along with specific intervention protocols, for the younger generations of individuals with DS, their families, and caregivers.

Summary: Although trisomy 21 itself does not determine a specific cause of oral diseases in DS, common oral health conditions such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and caries remain a matter of concern. The nexus between insufficient plaque control, distinctive oral characteristics, and reluctance to engage in treatment persists as noteworthy determinants. The necessity for oral health professionals to exercise patience and commitment when addressing oral care for individuals with Down syndrome is crucial.


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