Dental care can be a huge issue for Autistic children and adults alike. The sensory displeasure that comes with a mouth full of toothpaste or the uncomfortable sensation of bristles on gums is too much for many, which can cause issues with oral hygiene and tooth decay.
But there’s another option – A dedicated autistic toothbrush. But what is it exactly, and how does it work? Let’s take a look in more detail.
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An autistic toothbrush is specially designed to accommodate for autistic sensory issues by providing softer bristles and a softer brush. It also has a different shape so that your child doesn’t have to hold it as long before they get used to using it.
The best thing about these brushes is that they are specifically designed to suit the needs of Autistic people. They are made from soft materials, which means that they won’t hurt your child’s teeth when you use them.
They also come in various sizes and shapes depending on your child’s age and size.
Autistic toothbrushes work by providing a sensory experience that is calming and helps to focus the user. The bristles are soft, and the handle is textured, which offers a tactile experience that is calming and helps the user to focus.
There are many autistic toothbrushes on the market, and they all work a little differently. Some have soft bristles that won’t cause sensory overload, while others use flexible bristles that are gentle on sensitive gums. There are also autistic toothbrushes with expansion pleats that allow the bristles to reach all of your child’s teeth without causing them discomfort.
Additionally, many autistic toothbrushes come with ergonomic handles that make them very easy for children to hold. This is important, because it can be difficult for kids with autism to brush their teeth on their own.
Some autistic toothbrushes don’t use bristles at all! Instead, they rely on ultrasound technology to eliminate plaque, bad breath, and cavities. This is a great option for kids who find regular toothbrushing too overwhelming or uncomfortable, or have dexterity issues that stop them using proper technique.
There are many benefits to using an autistic toothbrush. Some are more obvious, while others you may not have thought about before. These include:
For one, it can help kids who crave a daily routine. Having a regular time-set routine benefits many Autistic individuals. By using a toothbrush designed for Autistic children, it allows for a smoother transition into the next part of their day – especially bedtime.
Like any toothbrush, good dental care provides many benefits to personal hygiene. In turn, good dental hygiene can ease the pain of sensitive teeth and reduce the chances of tooth decay.
If you’re struggling to brush your child’s teeth, take it easy at first. Steps that may be taken when tooth brushing are to place the toothbrush just inside their mouth without toothpaste, asking them to “open wide,” and then use gentle brushing strokes for a quick back-and-forth movement.
Dentist visits can be stressful, but they are necessary for dental health. But finding a toothbrush that your Autistic child wants to use and enjoys using is life-changing, and less stressful than frequent trips to the dentist.
If you do have to visit a pediatric dentist or oral care specialist, whether for a regular checkup or more emergency treatment, always ask the dental office in advance what special preparations they can make for your child to make the dental experience less stressful.
There are three main types of autistic toothbrushes, each having its own unique properties. So it’s good to look at a few different options to see what works best. These are:
The 3-Sided Toothbrush is most similar to regular manual toothbrushes, except they have three brushes arranged in a V shape to brush all three sides of the tooth at once. This reduces the amount of time needed to brush teeth, causing much less stress to the user. They also come in different sizes to accommodate for different tooth widths.
The vibrating electric toothbrush, like the manual toothbrushes mentioned above, also comes with three-sided toothbrush heads. These work almost identically to an automatic regular toothbrush in that you hold them over the tooth, rather than brush with more movement.
The U-Shaped Sonic Toothbrush has soft silicone bristles in a U shape that help stimulate the gums and teeth. Vibrating brushes like these are also designed to help children with Autism who have trouble controlling their movements when using manual toothbrushes. The vibrating action of the brush helps with plaque removal on tooth surfaces and prevents gum disease.
Using an Autistic toothbrush for kids is much like using manual toothbrushes in most cases, but it does depend on the toothbrush of choice and, more importantly, the individual needs of the child. Some tips on how to use an autistic toothbrush may include:
– Ask the person how they like to hold the toothbrush.
– Let the person brush their own teeth, but offer assistance as needed.
– Help the person to brush all of their teeth, including the back
When it comes to using an autistic toothbrush for kids, make sure that the toothbrush is the right size for your child’s mouth. You don’t want them struggling to hold it or fit it in their mouth.
Also, be sure that the bristles are soft enough that they won’t cause discomfort or pain. Many parents find that silicone brushes work best for their children, as they are gentle yet effective at removing plaque and bacteria from teeth and gums.
Finally, help your child learn how to use the toothbrush properly. If your child is older, you can use visual supports to aid their brushing. Show them how to hold it and brush each section of their teeth evenly. Taking care of their oral hygiene is an important step in helping them alleviate any future distress caused by poor dental hygiene.
There are a couple of ways to use an autistic toothbrush – you can either use a conventional toothbrush or a soft-bristled 3 sided brush. If you’re using a conventional toothbrush, make sure to use gentle motions and avoid scrubbing too hard. You should also avoid twisting the brush head, as this can damage enamel and gums.
If you’re using a gentler toothbrush, still make sure to wet the bristles before putting any toothpaste on them. Gently massage the surrounding bristles of the teeth and gum line, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Rinse thoroughly with warm water when finished.
For many with sensory issues, flavored toothpaste can be a huge anxiety trigger, whether it’s a distaste of the overpowering mint flavor, or the unusual gooey texture.
Consider alternative options such as unflavored and non-foaming toothpaste. This fluoride-free and unflavored toothpaste has thousands of positive reviews on Amazon, so it’s well worth a try.
Alternatively, if the sensation is too much, powder toothpaste is another option. Powder toothpaste is great for cleaning oral wounds or sores and gets into hard-to-reach places, making it great for anyone who struggles to brush teeth twice a day.
An autistic toothbrush will not only improve your child’s oral health, but it will also give them a sense of pride and accomplishment. It shows them that they are capable of doing something that other people take for granted every day. This will go a long way towards improving self-esteem and confidence.
Keep reading for more useful advice and learning more about neurodiversity!
Last Updated on December 23, 2022 by Neurodadversity
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