Taking care of a child with autism can bring about a lot of interesting challenges, even when it comes to oral health. Here is a look at a few important dental care tips to keep in mind if you have a child with autism.
1. Break down oral care routines at home into small tasks.
To the average child, brushing teeth is simply brushing teeth. However, when you look at the process of brushing your teeth, there are a number of steps involved. Autism Speaks offers a helpful list that actually shows how just teeth brushing can be broken down into 25 unique steps. For a child with autism, breaking down the different steps can be a more effective and less overwhelming way to handle the full task. Therefore, you may focus on brushing your child’s teeth for them until they can master each individual step (or most of them) on their own.
2. Consider more frequent oral hygiene visits if necessary.
If you have a particularly difficult time getting your child with autism to brush their teeth, it can be a good idea to schedule more oral hygiene visits at the dentist. Normally, children should have a cleaning about two times per year. But this schedule is recommended for average children who are either brushing or allowing their parents to brush their teeth for them on a pretty regular basis. More frequent visits may be necessary to keep plaque accumulation at bay and thwart the risks of decay.
3. Explain your child’s specific issues to the dentist.
Not every autistic child is the same, so the dentist is not going to know specifically what to expect when treating your child if they have autism. Take the time to speak with the dentist about things like:
- Specific sensory issues your child may have (e.g. fears of loud noises or bright lights)
- Oral health concerns you have
- Developmental or communication issues your child has
A Lincoln Pediatric Dentist Can Help
Oral health is so important to the overall well-being of every child. If you are looking for a good dentist for your child with autism, reach out to us at Korte Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment.