Getting children to care for their teeth and perform simple tasks such as brushing and flossing can be a challenge.
However, when it comes to children with special needs, the challenge becomes even bigger. It is important to teach your child good dental hygiene because it helps prevent dental problems and keeps their smile healthy and beautiful. Our St. Louis pediatric dentist will offer some dental hygiene tips for kids with special needs.
It is never too early to start a good dental hygiene routine. In fact, the earlier you start, the easier it will be to make it a part of their daily routine. You can start the dental hygiene routine when the child is an infant, even before getting their first tooth. Use a washcloth or a special toothbrush to wipe the baby’s gums.
Once the child gets their first tooth, start with an infant toothbrush. You can start with an infant toothpaste or just plain water at first.
Take Your Special Needs Child to a Pediatric Dentist Early On
Even after you have introduced at-home dental hygiene, you must introduce your child to the dentist as well. Starting early on will normalize dentist visits and may prevent or lessen a child’s dental anxiety as they grow up. Another important reason to take your child to the dentist is to identify any dental problems that might need intervention. Planning a treatment early on can give your child the best chance at healthy oral development.
Be Patient and Go Slow
If the child has sensory problems common in autistic children, you should take a step-by-step approach to dental hygiene. It will be less stressful for both the child and yourself. Start by simply touching the child’s cheek with a toothbrush, then gradually lips, and finally move on to tooth brushing once you think the child is ready. While you may not be able to brush the child’s teeth perfectly, some brushing is certainly better than no brushing.
Speak With a Sedation Dentist Experienced in Treating Special Needs Children
The dentist you choose for your child must understand the child’s situation. The dentist should work with you and your child to protect the child’s dental health without compromising their emotional health.
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