How to Get Your Child to Brush Their Teeth When They Have Sensory Issues
As the parent of a child on the autism spectrum, you know that it can be a challenge to help them brush their teeth.
In many cases, the problem is that kids with hypo- or hypersensitivity don’t like the sensation of having a toothbrush in their mouth. Kids with hyposensitivity are less aware of what’s going on in their mouth, which can create anxiety about brushing. Kids with hypersensitivity, on the other hand, feel everything in their mouth acutely, often causing every touch to be perceived as painful.
Tips for Helping Your Child Brush Comfortably
If your child has sensory issues, you may be frustrated because you know how critical it is to help them develop proper brushing habits. But there are ways you can help your child cope with the oral hygiene routine.
- Select a child-size toothbrush – You don’t want anything to get in the way of successfully brushing. If the toothbrush you’re using is too large for your child’s little hands, you are only creating another problem. A child-size toothbrush should help, and soft bristles also minimize uncomfortable sensations that might occur with stiffer bristles
- Make it a team effort – Brushing with your child can be very helpful because they learn by example. For some kids, just the fact that mom or dad is brushing helps them see that it’s not scary.
- Try a differently flavored toothpaste – It might not seem like the flavor of toothpaste your child uses matters. But their aversion to brushing may be because they perceive the minty flavor of some toothpaste as stinging or painful.
Please Call Us for Support
Dr. Rubin and the kid's dentistry team at our Northport, NY dental office are always available to support you in helping your child enjoy a healthy smile. Please call us, and we will be happy to sit down with you and your child and offer suggestions to help make their brushing routine easier and less stressful.