At our pediatric dental office in Chattanooga, we think all children are incredibly special. But the word special is also a really great way to describe children with disabilities – and their parents! And we admire you both. Special needs kids can teach us an awful lot about joy and perseverance.
We also know that keeping up with their healthcare needs can be challenging. We understand that things like daily dental hygiene can seem a lot less important than the big health concerns you and your child face.
The problem is, small dental issues can lead to bigger ones like infections, inflammation, tooth loss, and pain. And none of us want kids to experience any of that!
Here are a few ideas and tips to help you make your dental health routine a little easier. These work well with all kids, special needs or not.
- You can start a routine before a single tooth shows up. Clean those cute little gums with a soft cloth at least once a day. This gets kids accustomed to how something feels in their mouths and helps them adjust to the routine.
- Start brushing teeth, and schedule the first appointment with their pediatric dentist in Chattanooga, as soon as the first tooth breaks through the gums.
- Brush your child’s teeth wherever she feels comfortable – it does not have to be in the bathroom.
- If your child has a hard time relaxing or if you can’t see all the teeth well, try brushing with your child’s head in your lap. This helps her relax and gives you a clearer view of her teeth.
- Since toothpaste shouldn’t be swallowed, you can wipe your child’s mouth out with a soft cloth if she has difficulty spitting.
- We understand that it can be a challenge to brush even once or twice a day, so when you administer sugary medicines or snacks, be sure to rinse your child’s mouth with water to remove bacteria-feeding carbohydrates.
- Special needs kids can be sensitive to tastes and textures. You may need to use less than the recommended pea-sized amount of toothpaste. You could also try dipping the toothbrush in flavored fluoride oral rinse.
- Make brushing fun. Two minutes can seem like an eternity when you are working with an unhappy child. Consider finding a video, song, or even making up a silly dance. Some kids look forward to simply holding something special during toothbrush time.
- There are a lot of fun toothbrushes available that can help keep things interesting. Try a musical brush, a spin brush, or a brightly colored one, or let your child choose her own.
The pediatric dentists at our Chattanooga dental office are specially trained to take extra good care of our special needs kids. If you have any questions about dental care for your special needs child, or about our office, doctors, or team, give us a call today! We’d love to talk to you!