Dental Tips for Parents who have Children with ADHD
Dr. Greg Grillo – [dentably.com]
Taking care of your mouth is probably something you remember doing from a very young age. Brushing your teeth, flossing, and regular dental visits since your childhood have taught you what it takes to have a healthy mouth. While dental care may seem like second nature to you, it can be more difficult for children with ADHD due to behavioral and medical issues. These children may also have increased anxiety and fear of the dentist making it harder for them to receive the care they need.
Children with ADHD are also at a higher risk for suffering from dental issues so it’s important that they visit the dentist regularly and have an effective oral care routine. I have been practicing family dentistry for 17 years and have helped parents develop good oral care routines for their children with ADHD. This article will discuss some of the best dental care tips for children with ADHD and how parents can help them have the healthiest mouth as possible.
- Regular Dental Visits
Dentists recommend that children should start seeing the dentist once their first tooth grows in and every 6 months after that. As mentioned, children with ADHD may have increased anxiety or behavioral issues when visiting the dentist. However, there are ways you can prepare at home prior to your child’s dental appointment that can help them to have a successful visit.
One great way to help your child prepare for their dental visit is by using visual and audio resources to give them an idea of what they can expect. There are many kid-friendly books and videos about going to the dentist that can help ease their anxiety. You can also turn dental visits into an interactive game at home and have your child practice laying down with their feet out flat and their mouth wide open.
- Familiarization Appointments
You may also find it useful to schedule a familiarization appointment for your child. These appointments are often scheduled prior to an actual dental appointment and give your child the opportunity to visit the dental office without any work being done. This can help them become familiar with some of the sensory elements and gives them a chance to meet the dentist and office staff in a low-stress setting. Talk to your dentist about scheduling a familiarization appointment as it can be extremely helpful in assuring that your child is comfortable at the dentist office.
- Oral Care Routine
Since children with ADHD are at a higher risk for dental issues, it’s important that as a parent, you can help them develop a good dental care routine. Here are some tips for dental care at home.
Start by implementing a dental care routine of brushing twice a day. You can use timers to help ensure proper brushing time. If your child is at a higher cavity risk due to their medication, they may benefit from a prescription toothpaste. Try experimenting with different toothbrushes, toothpaste flavors, and other dental products to find which one your child likes best. This will help them get the most out of their dental routine.
Also, avoid rewarding good behavior with starchy carbs and sugary sweets. Since most children with ADHD are prone to cavities and dental caries, it may be best to reward their behavior with toys or other items instead. Encourage your child to eat healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts, and cheese.
Dental care is important to your child’s overall health and well being, and while children with ADHD may have some anxiety centered around visiting the dentist, there are luckily many ways you can help your child prepare for visiting the dentist. Regular visits and a good oral care routine to lead them on the path towards a healthy mouth.