DC always had a problem with brushing his teeth. Like most things hygiene-wise, if he can not see it, he does not understand it. If his hands are not dirty (dirt that he can actually see) then why should he have to wash his hands so often? Why take a shower, wash his face, brush his teeth? If he can’t see it, it does not exist. No amount of explanation on my part makes it any clearer to him. He does all of these “chores” because I tell him to and only because I tell him to. And because it is something that I am telling him to do he, not really understanding, will pretty much just go through the motions. Yes, he is sent back to do it again and yes, many times I have to stand there to be sure he is doing it correctly or just do it myself.
Brushing his teeth was always the hardest for him.
About a year ago, I was reading a post from Autism-Mom about dental hygiene (the post below is an updated version of the post I originally read). A portion of that post was devoted to a toothbrush specially designed for children on the spectrum. Just by looking at the photo, before even reading the particulars, it made perfect sense. I ordered some for DC and while I was at it I ordered some for myself, since I seem to spend my life in the dentist’s office. It couldn’t hurt, right?
I have to say that even when he just goes through the motions this toothbrush has improved his brushing enormously. I rarely have to send him back to brush again and I have not had to do it for him – not even once.
Here’s the kicker….
I had a dental appointment this morning (with the good dentist and the good hygienist at the good dental practice – not the periodontist ). I only just opened my mouth and she said “Oh My God! You have no stain! What have you been doing?”
I drink A LOT of coffee and staining, specifically behind my front teeth is always a big job – a power tool – worthy job. I told her that the only thing that was different was the new toothbrush. She immediately looked it up on Amazon, called another hygienist in to see it and decided she would buy a few. I told her that the last time I was at the periodontist – the last time I stayed for the appointment – that is, he had made the same observation. The lack of stain was what first impressed her, but once we got past that excitement, it seemed that everything had improved, even after missing a cleaning.
(I do normally have a cleaning every three months, alternating between the periodontist and my regular dentist but I missed my last appointment with her because it was scheduled on the Monday after my step-father’s wake and funeral weekend and it just slipped my mind.)
It always seems as if I am fighting a loosing battle with my teeth, which were perfect until I was pregnant with DC and my teeth seemed to go straight downhill. This was THE fastest and least painful cleaning I have ever had. For the never-ending amount of time that I usually spend in the dental chair, this was a fantastic thing!
DENTAL HEALTH – BRUSHING HIS GUMS – via: Autism-Mom (reprinted with permission)
As the Navigator gets closer to entering puberty and adolescence, I have been thinking about how to add an increasing number of personal hygiene tasks to his routines.
Especially since we are still struggling with basic tooth brushing.
The Navigator doesn’t like brushing his gums. We have tried traditional toothbrushes, followed up by rubbing his gums, but he was not remotely interested in doing that. It took too long as far as he was concerned.
He liked using an electric toothbrush with a spinning head, but that did not solve the issue of his uncleaned gums.
Please Visit Autism-Mom for the rest of the post…
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