I don’t have much patience when it comes to arguing with my son about brushing his teeth. Lucky for me, Dr. Greg Grillo offered up a guide for how to teach your child about good dental hygiene.
If you are raising a child, you have undoubtedly had the argument about brushing teeth. Kids with and without ADHD will argue over this simple task.
Maybe it’s a sensory thing. Maybe it’s just boring.
Whatever the reasons, kids with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders are often totally unconcerned with dental hygiene. Much to the irritation of their parents.
Here is a guest post from Dr. Greg Grillo (dentably.com) that will hopefully save you some stress.
how to teach your child about good dental hygiene
Good dental hygiene is extremely important to one’s overall health and well-being.
For children with ADHD it can be harder to understand the importance of good oral care and implement a routine. Despite this, it’s very important that children with ADHD learn about dental hygiene because they may be at risk for certain dental issues such as tooth decay.
I have been practicing dentistry for more than 17 years and have worked with families with children who have ADHD. We work together to find ways to teach children the importance of good dental health and how to achieve it.
Today, I’ll be sharing with you some of the methods that I have found work best, so your child can have the healthiest mouth possible.
common dental issues
Certain ADHD medications may make your child at risk for dry mouth and tooth decay. It’s important for both you and your child to learn about these risks so you can be prepared to combat them if they happen.
If your child suffers from dry mouth as a side effect of ADHD medication, they may be at risk for tooth decay if it is not managed. The best thing to do if your child experiences this is to make sure they are getting plenty of fluids.
Sometimes, sugar free lozenges and hard candies can help the mouth create saliva and keep it moist. Talk to your child’s dentist and doctor for the best way for them to manage dry mouth.
Create a routine
Implementing a dental routine is the best way for your child to learn about their oral hygiene, and how to maintain it. Try reading stories or watching videos about dental hygiene and teeth brushing to help your child visualize it in a fun way.
When it’s time to start on your child’s daily oral routine, focus issues may make it difficult for them to make it a habit.
Your child should be brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing at least once. You can try playing music during this time to help make it more enjoyable for them as well as help them pick out their favorite toothpaste flavor or a toothbrush that’s their favorite color.
If you can make it fun for them instead of it feeling like a chore, they will be more inclined to make it a routine each day.
Another part of this routine is your child’s diet. Try to limit sugary treats as much as possible as it can lead to tooth decay.
Teach your child the importance of a diet high in vitamins and nutrients. Visual tools work great for this, too. Have them try new fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy as much as possible to find which ones are their favorites.
Visit your dentist
You can’t have good dental hygiene without visiting the dentist, so your child should go to the dentist twice a year for exams and cleanings. Sometimes, the sensory issues at the dentist like bright lights, loud noises, and amount of people can make the experience overwhelming for a child.
One great educational opportunity is to schedule a familiarization appointment with your dentist. This is a chance for your child to see the office, look at the dental tools, and meet the dental staff before any work is done. This type of visit can help them learn about the dentist and why it’s important, and help them feel more comfortable when it’s time for their checkup.
Having good dental hygiene is essential to living a long and healthy life.
Dental care starts from an early age and is with us throughout our entire lives.
For children with ADHD, it can be harder to maintain good dental health and implement important care routines. Luckily, as a parent, there are many ways you can help.
Visit the dentist, help them start an oral care routine, and teach them about certain dental issues so they can understand the importance of taking care of their teeth and having a healthy mouth.
Learning how to teach your child about good dental hygiene starts with being proactive and modeling some of the behaviors you want to see.
As a parent with ADHD this is not always easy. We are quick to react and get frustrated ourselves.
Take care of your own symptoms and the parenting part gets a tiny bit easier, I swear.
Is dental hygiene a daily battle in your house? How do you handle it?