Teeth brushing and proper dental care can sometimes be a bit challenging for children on the autism spectrum.
Dental health is an important concept and can provide, you and your teeth, a more hearty and healthy lifestyle. Yet this everyday task that you and I might think of as a daily, inconvenient routine is one that can be very difficult for children with ASD. So, don’t fret, BHW is here to give you and your little ones some helpful tools on how to make this daily routine a little bit easier
- Getting the Right Toothbrush: Walk into any drugstore/convenience store and you will see a row filled with a variety of different toothbrushes. Small, large, stubby bristled, long bristled, pink, blue, red, etc. The possibilities are endless when making the choice on what toothbrush is best for your child. Here is a small checklist to help you make the perfect selection:
- Make sure the toothbrush fits your child’s mouth
- Assure that is has soft bristles (the bristles can sometime cause some discomfort in children with sensory issues, so picking a toothbrush with soft bristles is ideal)
- Get a color/design your child likes. This will catch their attention and hopefully make brushing their teeth a little more fun.
- Help your child get adjusted: As mentioned before, the sensation of brushing one’s teeth might can cause some to feel sensory discomfort. Because of this, it is wise for parents to slowly transition their child by having them first feel the bristles of the toothbrush on their teeth and then teaching them to open their mouth. After your child is comfortable with these motions and sensations, then move on to assisting them brush their teeth.
- Brushing your Child’s Teeth: So by this stage, you have now bought your child the perfect toothbrush and have assisted them in getting accustomed to their new teeth cleaning machine. Now it is time to help them actually brush their teeth.
- Start by standing behind your child with their head on your chest.
- Next, place the toothpaste on the child’s toothbrush. Be sure not to put too much tooth paste on the brush, about a pea size amount will suffice.
- Have your child then grab the toothbrush and slowly guide their arm and brush as if you were brushing your own teeth. When brushing be sure to do the following:
- Bottom Back Teeth
- Brush outside, inside and tops of the bottom back teeth on one side of the mouth five times
- Top Teeth
- Move up and brush the inside, outside and chewing surfaces of the top teeth five times
- Bottom Front Teeth
- Brush the bottom front teeth outside and inside five times
- Bottom Teeth
- Move to the opposite side and brush the bottom teeth outside and inside five times
- Top Front Teeth
- Brush the top front teeth inside, outside, and chewing surfaces five times
- Top Back Teeth
- Brush the opposite top back teeth inside, outside, and chewing surfaces five times
Lastly, don’t forget to congratulate your little one on doing such a great job when they’re done. It is important to note that despite the bathroom being the typical place to brush your teeth, some children might feel more comfortable brushing their teeth on the couch, their room, dinning room, etc. Remember that the ultimate goal is for your child to brush their teeth so the location on where they do it shouldn’t be a concern.
For more information on how to help your child keep up with their health hygiene Click Here.