Bed-time battles, fighting to get children to brush their teeth, floss and go to bed, are experienced by parents everywhere. Many parents have a difficult time getting their children to brush their teeth daily. This can be even more difficult if you are raising a child with special needs.
Children with certain medical, intellectual and physical disabilities can suffer oral problems more often and more easily. This can be due to a variety of issues include difficulty with dexterity and memory. So, to make your bedtime routine a little easier, follow these tips.
1) Make sure you’re cleaning your child’s teeth daily. If your child resists the traditional way of tooth brushing, try to brush your child’s teeth with their head in your lap. This can sooth their nerves. Or let them brush your teeth and you brush theirs – not a bad swap.
2) Make tooth brushing time easier for your child. If your child can’t grip their toothbrush, cut a hole in a tennis ball and slide the toothbrush through. If that doesn’t work, try using a piece of Velcro to wrap around their hand and hold the brush in its place.
3) Practice healthy eating habits. A bunch of grapes or slices of an apple make much better snacks than store bought munchies and they are much better for teeth too.
4) Find a dentist who has experience working with children with special needs. Not all dentists have the training, experience or desire needed to manage individuals with special needs. Look around for suggestions, and ask other parents who have children with special needs for a referral.
Hopefully some of these tactics will make oral health a fun family activity!
Do you have experience with special needs dentistry? If you have suggestions for parents, please leave them in the comments section.