Parents of disabled children know that even the most routine tasks can sometimes be daunting and overwhelming. If your child has special needs, it is important to understand the most effective ways to take care of his or her health. A healthy and clean mouth can improve overall health, so be sure to put some extra effort into your little one's oral hygiene. Here are a few measures that you can take to help ensure that your son's or daughter's teeth are properly cleaned.
Be a role model for your child by brushing and flossing your teeth with them.
When children see their parents modeling good behavior and healthy habits, they are much more likely to participate and engage in those activities. Plus, participation helps to make them feel included instead of like an outsider. This is important because some children with special needs may feel that they don't fit in due to differences between themselves and others.
You can even demonstrate proper techniques by using your son's or daughter's favorite toy or stuffed teddy to model proper oral hygiene as a model. The same stuffed buddy can accompany your child to dental appointments too.
Be a team player along with your spouse.
When both parents are engaged, not only does the child feel loved and taken care of, but he or she gets to spend quality time with both parents and develop healthy relationships and habits.
Make it a partnership. For instance, you may comfort and speak with your child while your spouse helps to clean your child's teeth. Having a dialogue rather than just trying to get through the process will make things easier for everyone.
Choose the right equipment to make things as easy as possible for your son or daughter.
If your child has trouble holding objects in his or her hands, then you will want to get a toothbrush that is soft and has a comfortable grip. Flossing tools that are simple to use and hold are also widely available. Don't hesitate to speak to your pediatric dentist about other dental tools for special-needs children.
Reinforce and reward positive behavior.
This is a great idea for all parents, as a matter of fact. When a child is praised for doing something you want them to do, he or she is more likely to continue that behavior. For your son or daughter, try getting him or her excited about brushing and flossing by having a "tooth jar," in which you add a penny every time the child brushes successfully. Watch the coins add up!
Schedule a consultation with a dental professional like Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates to learn more ways to care for the teeth of your special-needs youngster.