Do you have a child with special needs? Do you struggle to get them to brush and floss their teeth regularly? This is a common problem among parents, and it can feel as if the normal morning and nighttime routines are an uphill battle. Depending on your child’s physical, behavioral, or mental disability, these simple tasks may be quite challenging, but they don’t have to be. A pediatric dentist who offers special needs dentistry is here to offer 4 tips that will help your child practice good oral hygiene at home.
Make Brushing a Family Affair
Sometimes, your child might need a bit of encouragement from you. One of the best ways to do this is by joining them in the bathroom and making your oral hygiene routine a family affair! You can turn on music to add some fun just be sure to take note of what works and what doesn’t for your child. The added noise might be too much for them, so adjust accordingly based on their personal preference.
Let Them Try Different Toothbrushes
In the beginning, you may need to let your child simply chew on a small soft-bristled toothbrush to get used to the texture. This will help them to become familiar with how it feels inside their mouth. Over time, you may need to try a spin brush. Eventually, you’ll want to add a bit of fluoride toothpaste to get them used to the flavor that is now on their toothbrush. It can take time, but make sure you’re paying attention to how your child reacts to certain textures and flavors. This will help you encourage your child to practice good oral habits at home.
Remain Consistent in Your Routine
Oftentimes, children with special needs are most comfortable when provided a routine. This may not be true for all but sticking to a morning and nighttime oral hygiene ritual will ensure that your child adopts healthy habits day in and day out. If at all possible, try to never skip a day, as this will throw them off and potentially cause them to no longer cooperate when trying to brush and floss their teeth.
Don’t Be Afraid to Use an Aid
If you discover that your child has difficulty holding onto their toothbrush, get creative! Use Velcro or a hair tie that is attached to their hand or wrist to help them hold it in place. Look for brushes that have a thick or gripped handle. You might even try sticking their toothbrush is a ball or small toy that will allow them to have more control over the brush while they clean their teeth. It may take time to find the right solution but keep trying until your child feels more comfortable brushing their teeth.
All children need regular dental care, so if yours requires special needs dentistry, make sure to find a dentist who is trained and skilled to provide the added accommodations your child needs for a successful visit.
About the Author
Do you need a dental practice that offers special needs dentistry? If so, you’re in luck! Dr. Homer Sedighi is a board-certified pediatric dentist in St. Louis who provides services for children with mental, physical, and behavioral disabilities. He will work closely with you to identify any special accommodations your child needs to ensure a safe, comfortable, and memorable appointment. If you have a child who needs special attention when visiting the dentist’s office, contact us at (636) 777-7777.