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Children with Gastrostomy Feeding (PEG)

Advancement in the speciality of Paediatric Dentistry

Children with an unsafe swallow or chronic difficulties with oral feeds need some or all of their nutrition via nasogastric tube or percutaneous enteral gastrostomy. These children may become orally defensive and feel uncomfortable with dental checkups and even simple oral hygiene procedures. Even if there is no oral intake, germs can still build up on the teeth if toothbrushing is neglected. 

The normal self cleansing action of chewing food does not occur and these children may rapidly develop very thick layers of plaque and calculus all over their teeth. Regular toothbrushing not only helps to control the buildup of plaque in calculus, but also provides valuable oral stimulation. Special brushing techniques and even modified toothbrushes may be required to help you provide optimal oral health for your child.

Generally there will be a low risk of dental caries if there is no oral intake. Where there is limited oral intake or "tastes", care must be taken to ensure that food does not stick to the teeth after eating. Prolonged food contact can increase the risk of tooth decay, particularly if that food is sweet and sticky.

Your dental professional will take great care to minimise the risk of aspiration during dental cleaning and other treatment procedures.