How to Encourage Good Oral Health Habits in Special Needs Children
Children should begin to learn how to properly take care of their oral health at a very early age. For children who have special needs, or are mentally disabled, establishing good oral hygiene habits can be difficult. However, there are steps you can take to instill effective oral health practices in your special needs child so that they will be able to show their best smile.
Use Special Aids
There are specially designed dental tools and aids that can be useful in enticing your special needs child to take care of their teeth. For example, there are educational kits about dental care that are able to take into account the disabilities of a special needs child. Books that have photographs of oral health care tools or dentist offices can be helpful. Your child may also benefit from using specially designed toothbrushes, such as a three-sided brush with gentle bristles and a design that gives special needs children the independence to brush their teeth by making the task easier for them.
Create a Daily Routine
Establishing a routine that your special needs child can participate in each day, in the morning and the evening, can make it easier for them to know what to expect. In the beginning, it may be necessary for you to brush their teeth for them. If the child is able to, have them join you and use a toothbrush while you brush your teeth. Be sure to be consistent with the routine and avoid skipping brushing times to prevent the possibility they may be uncooperative the next time it is time to brush their teeth.
Make Practice Runs to the Dentist Office
An important part of proper dental care is regular visits to the dentist. However, such visits may be traumatic for a special needs child who is not used to the environment. You may have to seek out referrals from family members or trusted medical professionals for dentists with experience treating special needs children. Once you have settled on a dentist, consider conducting multiple trial visits to the dentist office with your child before a dental examination. You may even want to have your child tag along during your visit so that they can watch as you undergo your dental exam.
If you are looking for a dentist office that can accommodate the special needs of your child, contact us today at Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Wright has received specialized training to help kids with special needs. She will work with you to create a personal preventive dental care plan for your child and can provide tips on to get your child more involved with their oral health.