Getting your kids to brush their teeth can be a battle already, but kids with special needs can present unique challenges for parents and caregivers. But teaching your child good dental hygiene is a very important life skill, and that’s why our dental team at Dental on Central is invested in helping you and your kids. Read on for our best strategies for teaching your child with special needs good dental hygiene.
#1: Start Good Dental Hygiene Early
The earlier you start good dental hygiene with your child, the more it will simply be part of the normal daily routine. You can start when your child is an infant before they even have their first tooth by wiping their gums with a special toothbrush or even a washcloth.
Certainly, once your child sprouts their first tooth, you’ll want to begin with an infant toothbrush. You’ll want to avoid fluoridated toothpaste until age 3, or when your child can spit it out, but you can either use an infant toothpaste or even just water to start.
#2: Introduce Your Special Needs Child to the Dentist Early
Just like introducing at-home dental hygiene, it’s important to normalize going to the dentist as much as possible. Another important reason to visit the dentist early is to identify any dental issues that might require intervention. Formulating a plan early on can give your child the best chance for a healthy oral development.
#3: Introduce Dental Hygiene Slowly
If your child has sensory issues, which are common among autistic children for instance, taking a step-by-step, progressive approach to dental hygiene might be less stressful for your child. Try starting by touching your child’s cheek with the toothbrush, and then the lips, before moving to tooth-brushing. Remember, any brushing is better than no brushing, so do your best and don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
#4: Enlist the Help of a Special Needs Savvy Dentist
One of the best things you can do for your special needs child is to choose a dentist who understands and respects your child’s unique situation. A special needs dentist should work with you and your child to ensure optimal dental health without sacrificing the emotional health of your child.
Special Needs Dentistry at Dental on Central
At Dental on Central, our staff is well-trained in helping special needs families have a great experience. If you’re looking for a special needs dentist, we would love to have you join our family. For more information or to schedule an appointment at either of our locations, visit us on the web or call 602.266.1776.