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Expert Dental Advice: Dental Tips for Special Needs Children

If you’re the parent of a special needs child, it’s important that you pay particular attention to their dental health care. Special needs children are those with chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions. Special needs kids are at higher risk of dental health problems such as cavities, enamel irregularities, gum and oral infections, delayed tooth eruptions and bite problems.

Following these dental tips for special needs children will help you learn how to protect your child and invest in good oral health.

Regular brushing

Children with special needs have the same basic requirements for dental health care as those without special needs, including brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. If your child lacks the dexterity to brush effectively his teeth you should help out! You might find it easier if you approach your child from behind the head, which allows you to control the movement of the head and the toothbrush. Or, your child might feel more secure if you have him lie on your lap. Consider using an electric toothbrush and help with flossing if your child has difficulty.

Eating tooth-healthy foods

Make sure your child has a healthy diet, including sufficient calcium for strong teeth. Serve nutritious and balanced meals, and restrict sugary and starchy foods. Keep healthy snacks in the house, and save sweet treats for special occasions. If you don’t brush your child’s teeth after he’s eaten, have him drink or rinse with water.

Regular dental visits

Dentists recommend that children have their first visit before the age of one, and this is especially important for special needs children. When looking for a dentist, think about these special supports:

    Pre-appointment – A pre-appointment gives your child the chance to meet the dentist and see the exam room and equipment, which can help him feel more comfortable during the actual appointment.
    Accessibility – The areas inside and outside the dentist’s office should be accessible for your child.
    Experience – Dentists and staff who have already cared for children with special needs may have developed strategies that can help support your child.

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