Children with Autism – Tips to Maintain Good Oral Health
Autism Therapy in Dallas Can Cover More than You Thought!
Oral health is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Children with Autism may not have an interest in their oral health or may find the process uncomfortable. If you’re having difficulties getting your child to practice good oral hygiene, a children’s Autism clinic in Dallas recommends following these steps.
Steps to Help Your Child with Brushing and Flossing
Maintaining oral health for a child with Autism may be difficult. Often, children with Autism have sensory processing issues and the feeling of brushing their teeth makes them uncomfortable. Brushing their teeth may become a more satisfying experience for them if you work to alleviate this discomfort.
- Slow and steady — If your child is uneasy with a toothbrush touching their teeth, start slowly. To begin, touch their lips with the toothbrush. Once they are at ease, gradually have them open their mouth wide and progress to slowly brushing their teeth, rewarding them with praise as they complete each step.
- Mirror, mirror — Demonstrate to your child how to clean their teeth properly by brushing your own teeth. This can make it a more enjoyable and interesting activity. Then, while standing by their side, show them how to do it on their own.
- Rule of fives — When your child is capable of cleaning their teeth, the rule of fives will show them how to do it thoroughly. This involves brushing their teeth five times in each section (top, bottom, front, back, inside, and outside). If your child experiences discomfort, brush their teeth as much as they will allow, working up to the 5 x 6 rule.
- Get comfy — Your child’s comfort comes first! If they aren’t at ease in the bathroom, find their favorite spot and start the lesson there.
- Fun with floss — Introduce flossing to your child slowly in the same way you approached brushing their teeth. It can be a strange feeling for them to get used to but make it fun by letting them do their preferred activity afterward. For example, if your child associates teeth brushing with a bedtime story immediately after, they may start looking forward to it. The morning routine will need a different activity to follow, of course, perhaps something like walking the dog or feeding the fish or giving kitty a treat.
Suggestions to Make Oral Health Care More Interesting
Oral health is a marker for your overall health. If your child has issues dealing with the maintenance of their dental hygiene, in home Autism therapy in Dallas may include suggestions to try the following:
- Introduce your child to a visual schedule. Create a chart with images of each step of oral care.
- Provide rewards in the form of activities or tokens to make it a pleasant experience.
- Master brushing manually; you can give them an electric toothbrush if it makes the process easier for them.
- Find the dentist that is right for your child. Make sure the dentist has the tools and knowledge necessary for their comfort. Be sure to have an honest conversation with them about your child’s triggers or sensitivities.
- Prepare for the dental appointment by creating a visual schedule of the event, doing a trial run at home, and showing your child videos about children’s dental visits so that they associate the appointment with fun and excitement.
About the Authors
Apara Autism Center provides in home Autism therapy across Texas to provide you with the guidance you need to make oral hygiene fun for your child. They have centers offering Autism therapy in Dallas and also provide these services at their other centers in Richardson, Carrollton, and Lewisville. In addition to overall developmental support for your child, their team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) also have the experience and training to help your child maintain good oral health. If you have any questions or concerns call them at (844) 272-7223 or send them a message.