If your child has a physical or intellectual disability that makes keeping their smile healthy look a little different, you may have to search a little harder for techniques and products tailored just for them. Children with special needs may experience increased anxiety and fear of visiting their dentist as well as a higher risk of developing certain dental hygiene problems. To help keep your favorite smile healthy and happy, read below for helpful dental tips for children with special needs.
Establish a Daily Oral Hygiene Routine
One of the most impressive accomplishments for any parent is to establish a daily oral hygiene routine at home with their child. In cases for those with difficulty adjusting to new schedules and changes in their day, this can be a massive feat. Some great ways to get your child engaged with brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily include:
- Start showing them the ropes at a young age. Even if your child doesn’t have any teeth yet, showing them how to brush their teeth, or even how you take care of your pearly whites, can give them an idea of what to expect when they get older.
- As your child ages, let them brush and floss alongside you! This will help them observe and pick up on your good technique and positive habits.
- Make slow transitions. If your child likes a certain type of children’s toothpaste or toothbrush that they’ve outgrown, gradually introduce them to the new ones that they should be using. Making all of those changes at once could be overwhelming.
As a parent, slow and steady wins the race, and making sure your child remains comfortable and has a positive experience taking care of their smile is the most important priority.
Find an Experienced Children’s Dentist
Finding a children’s dentist who can meet your child’s needs and is patient and experienced can drastically improve their visit when it comes to their routine checkups and cleanings. Try getting referrals from their primary care physician, other family members or friends with children who have special needs, and check out local dental practices’ websites. This will give you a good idea of whether or not they can create a positive experience for your little one.
Create a Good Relationship with a Dental Office
Once you find a reliable and trustworthy children’s dentist, you can focus on building a great, long-term relationship with them! This will allow your little one to get used to the staff that will be taking care of them, helping them feel safe and more comfortable, as well as establishing routines at each appointment. For example, if the dental team knows that your child prefers having a blanket on them and the lights out, they’ll be able to prepare for this before they arrive for their cleaning, making their experience much smoother.
With these three main considerations in mind, you’ll be able to curate a positive dental health journey for them, setting their growing grins up for success!
About the Author
Dr. Olga Kandov is a gentle, passionate, and experienced dentist with countless advanced certifications and years of experience under her belt. She loves helping families, especially children, feel more confident about their smiles and creating strong, lasting relationships with her community of Doylestown. She offers a wide range of kid-friendly treatments, from dental sealants to accessible care for her patients with special needs. Visit Brite Smiles 4U’s website or call 215-345-6500 to schedule an appointment for your child today.