Dental care is extremely important to one’s overall health and well-being. However, in children with additional needs, sensory issues can make it difficult to implement a dental care routine. Here is a list of recommended tips that work for families with children with autism.
1. Visiting your dentist
It’s recommended that one visits the dentist twice a year, or once every six months. A child should begin seeing a dentist when they are around 12 months old or once they start growing teeth. Your dentist is going to be a great avenue of support when it comes to all things dental health. You will want to find a dentist that can properly care for your child and their needs. Ask your primary health care provider for recommendations of special needs dentist.
2. Brushing and flossing
The best way to instill an effective dental care routine is by starting at home and starting from a very young age. Introducing a young child to brushing and flossing can make it easier as they get older. Brushing and flossing your teeth is essential to a good dental care routine. In children with special needs, they can be sensitive to the toothbrush bristles and flossing movements. This can make it difficult to have good oral hygiene.
If your child is struggling with brushing their teeth, try experimenting with different kinds of toothbrushes until you find one that works best for them. Some brushes are made with silicon or softer bristles. Sometimes, a child may benefit from an electric toothbrush with soft vibrations. It’s all about finding a toothbrush that they can use on a day to day basis.
3. Eating a healthy diet
Having a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is also important when it comes to having a healthy mouth. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and some dairy carry the nutrients that one needs to have strong teeth and gums.
Children with special needs may have limited diets and strong likes or dislikes when it comes to food and drink. Work together with your child in trying new foods and discover new foods that they love. It can be a fun way for you and your child to experiment with food and find ones that work best. One thing to note while discovering a diet that works for your child is that it’s important to limit sugary foods and drinks as well as acidic foods. In large quantities, foods like this can break down the enamel and make your child more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay.
It’s important to implement an effective dental care routine from an early age so that a child’s mouth can grow up healthy and strong. For children with additional needs, it can be harder to achieve this routine because of sensory issues. However, there are many ways to work towards making brushing, flossing, and dental care second nature. Embrace the learning experience that comes with dental care and never give up on your child’s dental health.
by Dr. Greg Grillo (dentably.com)