Children with autism are not necessarily automatically prone to dental problems because of their diagnosis. However, having a child with autism can make it especially difficult to teach them some of the basics of dental care, such as brushing and flossing. Because of this fact, some parents with autistic children really struggle with proper oral hygiene for their child and some autistic children will develop dental problems because of it. If you have an autistic child and have found the whole situation of keeping your child's teeth clean a challenge, there are a few things you can do that can help:
Try introducing the toothbrush without toothpaste.
Autistic children tend to have extreme sensitivities to certain things, even the way some things taste. If it seems to be a huge struggle to get your child to brush their teeth because they don't like the way the toothpaste tastes or feels in their mouth, try offering them the bare brush instead. Even if you cannot use toothpaste for brushing, at the least your child will be brushing away some of the plaque and debris on the teeth and gums. There are also alternatives to toothpaste, such as dental soap, that are much less flavorful and may not taste so bad to your child.
Allow the child to brush your teeth while you brush theirs.
This sounds a little odd, but an autistic child who has the motor skills to brush their teeth may still not feel comfortable with brushing their own teeth. They may even resist when you try to brush their teeth for them. Allowing them to use a toothbrush on your teeth while you brush theirs can possibly help distract them and keep them content. Plus, with them being able to see what they are doing to your teeth, it can help them to feel even more comfortable with the process so eventually, that can start brushing on their own.
Schedule extra dental hygiene appointments for your child.
If you are having too difficult of a time getting your autistic child to brush, it is a good idea to talk to your child's dentist about having their teeth professionally cleaned a little more often. In most cases, your dentist can help you come up with a better plan of action to keep your child's teeth clean and their smile healthy in spite of their resistance to brushing and flossing.
Contact a dental office like Kuban David S DDS for more information and assistance.