Oral Hygiene Guide for Children with Special Needs

October 2, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drlindasteele @ 10:08 pm
mom at dentist with child

While the importance of brushing twice a day and flossing daily is well-known, children with emotional, behavioral, physical, or intellectual disabilities may face challenges in maintaining these habits. They might need extra assistance due to difficulties in remembering or limitations in fine motor skills. Explore four tips in special needs dentistry to ensure the oral health of your child’s teeth and gums.

Tip #1. Establish a Routine

Establishing a consistent routine can be comforting for many children with special needs. It’s crucial to incorporate proper oral care into their daily schedule. Missing even one session of brushing or flossing might lead to resistance in the future. Prioritize their oral hygiene routine every morning and night, and consider doing it together to set a positive example and foster healthy habits.

Tip #2. Get Creative

While adults often go through their oral hygiene routines on autopilot, caregivers of special needs children are advised by the National Institutes of Health to make daily oral care enjoyable by getting creative. Consider purchasing themed toothbrushes featuring their favorite characters to pique their curiosity. Play songs or encourage them to dance while cleaning their teeth to make the experience more engaging.

Tip #3. Implement a Better Diet

Ensuring your child maintains regular dental check-ups and adopts good oral care habits at home is crucial for protecting their smile. Equally important is their diet. Encourage brushing after meals and before bedtime to eliminate plaque and reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Also, restrict their intake of sugary items like soda and candy. Promote water consumption and include tooth-friendly foods in their diet, such as fish, fresh fruits, lean meat, vegetables, and milk, cheese, yogurt, and other low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

#4. Find an Experienced Dentist

Delaying a child’s first dental visit is a common practice among parents to prevent anxiety, but regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining optimal oral health. A dentist can identify and address minor issues before they escalate.

To facilitate the process for both you and your child, seek a dentist experienced in caring for special needs children. This ensures they receive high-quality, comfortable, and effective dental care.

Once your child’s first tooth appears, they become susceptible to dental issues. Ensure you find a reliable dentist and establish a robust oral hygiene routine to maintain their teeth in good condition and their smile bright!

About the Practice

Taking care of your child’s smile might seem overwhelming, but Dr. Linda A. Steele is here to assist in maintaining their healthy and radiant pearly whites. With nearly 30 years of expertise as a highly skilled pediatric dentist, she is dedicated to leveraging her knowledge to ensure excellent oral health for little ones. Dr. Steele has extensive experience nurturing growing smiles and creating a comfortable and secure environment during treatment. For appointments or inquiries about caring for your special needs child’s teeth at home, contact her office at (972) 315-3355 or visit her website.

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