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Caring for Patients With Cystic Fibrosis

About half of the individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF) in the United States are children and adolescents younger than 18. Historically, dental caries may not have been a high priority health problem among those with CF because of shortened life expectancy. Recent improvements in the management of CF and the subsequent increase in life expectancy, however, mean that dental caries prevention should be considered an integral part of comprehensive infection prevention plans. In order to help individuals with CF prevent dental caries, oral health professionals need to understand the specific risk factors that affect pediatric patients with CF and how to manage caries risk in children and adolescents with CF.

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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the least common lethal genetic disease in Caucasians.

Link between genetics and the cystic fibrosis disorder Kagenmi / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Approximately how many individuals are diagnosed with CF in the US each year?

Book with diagnosis Cystic fibrosis designer491 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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CF is caused by an autosomal recessive mutation to the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) gene.

Inhaler Mask And Glasses With Text Diagnosis Cystic Fibrosis AndreyPopov / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Today, what percentage of individuals with CF are diagnosed by newborn screening panels that are mandated in all 50 states?

Form with word diagnosis and tablet with cystic fibrosis designer491 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Enamel defects—often present on the maxillary incisors—were among the earliest reported dental anomalies described in individuals with CF.

Ivacaftor molecular structure ollaweila / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Gastroesophageal reflux diseasecan also force stomach acid into the oral cavity, which, depending on frequency and severity of the acid reflux, can erode the teeth.

Woman lying on sofa looking sick in the living room dragana991 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Preventive care for individuals with CF should center on which of the following?

Fluorine. Minerals for human health. AlfaOlga / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Caring for Patients With Cystic Fibrosis
Not bad, but there’s room to grow when it comes to understanding how to care for patients with cystic fibrosis. Consider reading more about this important facet of dental hygiene care. Good luck!
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This information is from the article “Supporting Oral Health in Patients With Cystic Fibrosis” by Elise Sarvas, DDS, MSD, MPH, Donald L. Chi, DDS, PhD and Amy Kim, DDS. To read the article, click here.

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