Tooth Care And Your Autistic Child

Autistic children will do much better when there is a clear set of expectations and this is the same when it comes to their dental routine. This article will serve as a helpful group of ideas you can try to implement with your child that may make their dental care times go much more peacefully. Here are some tips that you may want to follow in addition to their visits to a pediatric dentist:

Make bedtime brushing much easier on everyone: You should start your child's bedtime routine before they are exhausted. This way, they won't already be cranky and frustrated when you are trying to get their teeth brushed. Most children feel more relaxed after a nice bath. Therefore, you should try giving them a calming bath first and then put on their pajamas and head for the sink to brush their teeth. Allow them to choose a book for you to read to them in bed after they brush their teeth without a lot of problems. Once you turn this into a set schedule they get used to, it will go by much easier for the both of you.

Make the tooth brushing expectations clearly defined: Autistic children do much better when they know what to expect and how long each step will take. This is why you may want to use a visual timer or even one of their favorite songs in order to let them know how long they will need to brush their teeth. When the timer hits three minutes, they can stop. Or, when the song comes to an end, the tooth brushing session is over.

Older children may do well with a mouth diagram: You can create a diagram of the mouth that shows all surfaces of the teeth, the top of the tongue and the sides of their cheeks. Show them on the diagram what order to brush in and show them all of the surfaces they want to brush.

Be very direct in what is needed: Try not to say things like, "Brush your teeth for a few minutes" or "You're just about finished." Instead, tell them, "You have to do the bottom back molars and then you are finished."

Use a soft toothbrush and very little toothpaste: A softer toothbrush is going to be more tolerable and a small amount of toothpaste will be accepted easier. Try to find a flavor of toothpaste they prefer, also. Let them get the tooth brushing down good before you even try to move on to the tongue since this tends to be more ill-received by autistic children due to gagging.

Allow your child to brush their teeth in the tub if they prefer: Some autistic children do much better brushing their teeth in the bathtub since it can cause them to develop a positive connection. Feel free to allow your child to do this if it helps.

Allow your child to handle the toothbrush first: Before you attempt to have your child brush their teeth, allow them to first check out the toothbrush. This can help them feel more comfortable with the thought of brushing their teeth.