Does your child have difficulties brushing teeth?
Brushing teeth is an important part of our oral hygiene routine but for a child with sensory sensitivities, this task can be exceptionally difficult. If a child is over responsive to touch, this can result in them not tolerating anything in or around the mouth therefore no tooth brushing!
It is recommended we give our children assistance when brushing their teeth until at least 6-7 years of age as they will not have developed the motor coordination skills required to brush appropriately.
Here are a few more tips to try:
- Do some heavy work activities before brushing teeth.
- Ask your child to sit down whilst brushing their teeth. This may help a child who has poor postural control. They could even sit on your lap for extra deep pressure.
- Try massaging your child’s face before brushing – they may not tolerate this though.
- Allowing your child to hold the toothbrush, you can gently guide their hand as tolerated by them.
- Try different toothpastes such as a natural one. Mint can be quite strong for those sensitive tastebuds.
- Soft bristles may be easier than hard bristles.
- Brush your teeth whilst your child brushes theirs – great role modelling!
- If your child enjoys a bath, try brushing them at the end in the bath.
- Tepid water rather than cold.
- Try some oral motor activities beforehand (see some links below for this).
- Pop on some background music to take their mind etc off the brushing sound.
- Try a singing toothbrush!
- Use a mirror so your child can see where they are brushing.
- Try an electric/vibrating brush as this could help with poor motor skills – your child may not tolerate vibration though.
- Use a timer to indicate when the brushing should stop.
Oral motor activities:
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