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Cerebral palsy (CP) is a common developmental neurological disorder affecting about 2-3 children out of 1,000. CP is the result of infant brain damage or abnormal development resulting in impaired muscle control, coordination, tone, reflex, posture, and balance. These patients are unable to control motor movements of their muscles of mastication and facial expression, causing excessive drooling, clenching, bruxism, and other oral health-related issues. This lack of motor control affects their ability to swallow and often limits these patients to a liquid diet. This can lead to vitamin deficiencies and result in further developmental problems. As an example, a deficiency in vitamin D may lead to osteoporosis, which manifests in the oral cavity as periodontal disease.

Even into adulthood, these individuals are often reliant on the care of others. It becomes the caregiver’s responsibility to ensure the individual with cerebral palsy is receiving consistent and effective oral hygiene, and to monitor the oral tissues for signs of disease or injury. The researchers reviewed primary and secondary literature published after 2014 on the subjects of cerebral palsy, general health considerations, and oral care. The aim of this investigation focuses on unique issues faced by patients with cerebral palsy, and how to effectively educate caregivers on risks and proper techniques for providing oral hygiene to these individuals.

Publication Date



cerebral palsy, special needs dentistry, dental hygiene, special care dentistry


Dental Hygiene | Dental Public Health and Education | Other Dentistry | Pediatric Dentistry and Pedodontics

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Joan Pellegrini

Dental Hygiene Student Scholarship

Date of Submission

May 2018

Consideration for care for your patient with cerebral palsy