Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Autism and the Necessity of Dental Hygiene

Performing dental hygiene on some children with Autism is not an easy task, however, it is a necessary one.
If you want to prevent any problems later on, prevention is certainly better than a cure.

It is presumed that children with Autism have a high threshold for pain, and what pain is much worse than a toothache.
It is not an area that is easy to inspect and if the Autistic child has no speech as 50% of them do, then they may not have a way to tell you and may be in some considerable amount of pain for some time before you suspect anything is wrong.

It is best that dental care is started as early as possible so that they can get accustomed to it.

Start simple by sweeping around the teeth with a flannel or a fingerstall type toothbrush.
It is much better to break the task down into many simple steps and keep to the same routine. This will help the Autistic child feel more comfortable with doing it.

For those whose child with Autism has a tendency to chomp down on fingers that are placed in their mouth, I would suggest holding the child's hand and using their finger to perform the task.
If they do chomp down, they will soon realize their error and your fingers will be out of harm's way.
Also handing them a toothpaste with a bit of water on it while you are brushing their teeth will give them an idea of how it is meant to be used and can act as a prelude to them using it on their teeth.

Children's toothpaste comes in many different flavours and it should be possible to come up with one that your child likes.
Always use just a wee bit of toothpaste as initially it is going to be next to impossible to get the Autistic child to rinse and spit, but that should be a goal to work towards.
Sometimes, after brushing, putting a dash of mouth rinse on a wipe and getting the child to wipe his mouth and front of his teeth can have the dual benefits of keeping their breath fresh and wiping off the excess toothpaste so that it doesn't get swallowed.

There are dentists who specialize in dealing with children with disabilities and it may be an idea to use one of those for your Autistic child.
They will have experience in dealing with many types of disabilities and have plans in place for treating the Autistic child.
Sometimes a visit before treatment is initiated is helpful for the child with Autism to get them used to the setting. Make sure that you are not stressed before or during the visit as the Autistic child seems to pick this up from you and will react accordingly.
If you remain calm and positive throughout the visit, they are also likely to be more manageable.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and a smidgen of toothpaste and a toothbrush is definitely more preferable to a visit to the dentist with an Autistic child.

Donna Mason has been a Registered Nurse for the past 16 years. She is the mother of 6 children, 3 of whom have varying degrees of Autism. For more information on Autism signs and symptoms, and to learn more about this mother's battle in the fight against this misunderstood condition, visit us on the web at: http://www.autisticadventures.blogspot.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Donna_Mason

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