Oral Health Tips for Children with Special Needs

Dental health is important regardless of age. Looking after your teeth and mouth is about more than having a perfect ‘Hollywood smile’, oral health has actually been linked with the overall health of your body. Looking after one helps you to look after the other.

It can be difficult to teach any child the basics of oral health and the importance of creating a good schedule when young. Unfortunately, this can be even more difficult when you’re dealing with a child that has special needs. 

The good news is that it’s not impossible to instill this knowledge, you just need to take the right steps.

Start Young

Children with special health care needs generally respond better to fixed schedules. This means it is a good idea to create a schedule that tells the child when they will be undertaking oral health.

You can then use the allotted time to display tooth brushing techniques and supervise them until they get the process right. It can be more complicated if the child is unable to perform this function themselves, you’ll need to do it for them. However, that shouldn’t stop them from trying if feasible. 

Don’t forget to show them how to floss as well.

By creating a schedule and starting young you’ll instill the routine of oral health into your child with special health needs. This will help them to demand tooth care in the future, which will certainly help.

Get Professional Help

You need to contact a local pediatric dentist and get your child registered with them. They will have the tools, skills, and patience to deal with your child’s special health needs. This will also reinforce the importance of oral health and tooth care. The dentist will be able to guide your child through the oral health processes and, by creating a schedule of visiting the dentist they should have no problem with continuing this into adulthood.

This is important as you need to ensure your child will continue to look after their oral health, even if something happens to you.

Teething

Teething is painful at any age but it can be considerably more difficult when your child has special health needs. Not only is it potentially more difficult to explain the situation to them they may not be able to deal with the issues as effectively.

You’ll need to give them things to chew and soothe them as best as you can, over-the-counter pain medicines are not recommended. 

If you do need to brush their teeth for them you should do it with them standing in front of you, their back resting against your chest. They should be able to see what you are doing in a mirror to help them learn the process and feel comfortable while you are doing it. 

It’s also important that you choose a soft toothbrush that won’t harm their teeth or gums. You may find that cutting a hole in a tennis ball and sliding it over the toothbrush will help your child to grip it themselves.

Persistence is key to ensuring your child is capable of looking after their oral health.