Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Special Needs Guide to Dental Hygiene

Establish a daily ritual 1. Be Creative The National Institutes of Health have a guide for caregivers emphasizing the importance of creativity and a daily oral hygiene routine – and those were the keys to my family’s success. Finger toothbrushes for infants only encouraged my son to bite my finger. Instead, I offered him a clean, wet washcloth to chew on for a few minutes in the morning and before bedtime. I helped him move the washcloth around his mouth so that all of his teeth were scrubbed. Then I offered water to drink, since he didn’t know how to rinse and spit yet. 2. Brush Together The next step was to allow my son to chew on a child-size toothbrush while I brushed my own teeth. This desensitized him to the toothbrush’s texture while I modeled appropriate dental hygiene for him. Sometimes it’s necessary to try several different types of brushes, such as a spin brush. After many months, when he was accustomed to the texture, I added non-fluoride toddler toothpaste to his toothbrush so that he would get used to the idea of flavoring on the brush.

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