For patients who have a child with autism, rest assured, you are not alone. Autism is actually the fastest growing disorder prevalent in the U.S. with one out of every 54 children being diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. This month, our dental team recognizes Autism Acceptance Month to help create awareness and acceptance and support our patients with autism. This year, the Autism Society of America is promoting Autism Acceptance month to connect and accept those living with autism.
At Sierra Oaks Dental, we would like to share some tips to help parents of children with autism enjoy their daily oral hygiene routine and dental visits. We understand that new sights, sounds, smells, and sensations can be challenging for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or sensory issues. We want to help because regular dental visits are crucial to your child’s developing oral health.
Daily Oral Care
Your child needs to feel good about their daily oral hygiene care. You can work on making this time calming for them and help them look forward to brushing and flossing. If manual toothbrushing is too difficult for them, we recommend using a rotating or electric toothbrush when cleaning their teeth. Not only does this help with manual dexterity, but it offers extra stimulation for them. You can teach them fun brushing songs set to popular children’s songs like “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush” but changing the words to “This is the Way We Brush Our Teeth”. This helps them enjoy brushing for the recommended two minutes each session. And for children who try to avoid sensory experiences, unflavored toothpaste can be better than traditionally heavily flavored ones.
Routine Dental Visits
You’ll also want to introduce your child to our dental office so they feel comfortable, safe and happy being here. You can explain to them that our dental team wants to make sure their teeth and mouth are clean and healthy and that when they are done, they will get a special treat bag filled with dental goodies. You can explain what they can expect when they come in, step by step, to help them feel calm instead of anxious. You can even schedule a tour before your appointment so your child won’t feel unprepared. We want them to look forward to coming in to see the dentist. Our experienced team will make sure that the actual dental appointment is tailored to your child’s unique needs for the most positive experience possible!
Our team recognizes the importance of your child’s oral development and is pleased to do everything we can to help you both. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns prior to scheduling your child’s visit!
Want to support organizations contributing to Autism research? Check out the following:
-California Autism Center: https://www.calautismcenter.org/
-Sacramento Autistic Spectrum & Special Needs Alliance: http://www.sassna.org/