Tooth brushing for the orally defensive

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Tooth brushing for the orally defensive

As everyone knows brushing your teeth is a vital, hygienic routine to be done every morning and night. For children who are orally over-sensitive this common activity can become a nightmare chore.

Never choose the toothbrush yourself, ask your child to pick a variety of ones for them to try at home. Experiment with different heads, bristles, colours and handles. Even a vibrating toothbrush may help. For some children the problem is with the toothpaste. Again, try a variety of toothpastes; one for children, one for adults, strong or weak flavoured ones or coloured ones. If the toothpaste is such a problem just use plain water. The act of brushing is much more important than the toothpaste.

If your child is orally defensive, it is important that you calm them down beforehand to encourage them to brush their teeth. Use a weighted jacket or collar to provide deep pressure or ask them to go and sit in their "time-out" place for five minutes. You may also want to try calming the mouth with a chew toy.

Hopefully now your child should be ready to brush their teeth. It may be a good idea to keep them focused on something else while they are doing this e.g. play their favourite song, set a countdown timer so they know how long they need to carry on brushing (start off with a short time, gradually increasing this up to the recommended two minutes) or keep the weighted collar over their shoulders.

Finally, reward your child to they know that brushing their teeth is good. We want to encourage them and through rewards hopefully we can make brushing their teeth a stress-

free activity.