There are many unique challenges when caring for a child with autism, or any other development disabilities for that matter. Both dental providers and parents can have some demanding trials when helping these special little ones with their oral hygiene care. With the spectrum being wide, kids with autism can have various needs and where some can experience similarities, no two kids are alike. As with any child, it is essential that quality dental care is given throughout their life and where parents of an autistic son or daughter can be difficult at times, it is still important you diligently ensure they are given the best oral health care possible. With that in mind, we at Smile Reef would like to offer some tips and suggestions on taking care of the oral needs of an autistic child.
Dental Care Tips & Information for an Autistic Child
1) Brushing and flossing may require assistance from the parents, depending on the child’s individual’s abilities. These hygiene practices are very basic, it is essential they are not overlooked in an effort to protect their teeth from getting cavities and other oral issues. Many autistic children rely on routine. If you have not established oral practices in their daily schedule, implement it soon and make sure they are getting their teeth brushed the same time every morning and every night. If possible, have them do it, even if you have to do it first or after to make sure it is done thoroughly.
2) Consider getting sealants to protect the child’s molars from decay. Sealants are recommended for all children, but autistic children that have difficulty brushing can especially benefit.
3) Autistic children are especially sensitive to stimuli like sounds and tastes and can run into dilemmas during their dental visit. When you call for their appointment, let them know about their specific needs so the dentist staff can properly prepare for your child’s arrival and help their service be smoother.
4) Sedation can significantly help autistic children during particularly long dental procedures. They are calm throughout the entire visit, which keeps them safe and relaxed so the dental care is done more efficiently and makes for a better experience for everyone. Additionally, one of the side effects is that people do not remember the event during the sedation, which helps the autistic child more for future dental visits. Seeking out a dental professional that specializes in pediatrics and kids with special needs, such as Smile Reef, can make all the difference in the world for your child. These professionals are trained to interact with autistic children and with our experience, we see kids that are all over the spectrum and usually have the patience and compassion for kids with special needs.
Special Needs Dentistry
Helping your kids with their oral practice is important for their oral care as children but more so for the care of their oral health as they become adults. We at Smile Reef know the challenges of helping autistic kids and other children with development disabilities and we are readily available to provide the professional dental care your child needs. Call us today to schedule your child’s next appointment.
Most parents have heard the warnings about feeding your kids moderate servings of unhealthy food and beverages such as soft drinks, candy, and other high-sugar choices. In an effort to keep your child on a well-balanced and healthy diet, you opt for the marketed healthy foods and drinks thinking you are doing the right thing for your child’s overall health as well as their oral health. Unfortunately, there are some foods that are marketed as health foods and beverages that are actually a detriment to your child’s oral care and we at Smile Reef would like to list a few examples to help you be more aware.
Healthy Food & Drinks that are Bad for Teeth
Sport Drinks and Water Enhanced Drinks: These drinks are often advertised as a healthy way to recover from intense workouts and activities, but in fact they are not good for you or your kids in the slightest. In a 20oz bottle of the vitamin enhanced waters, there is more sugar contained in there than the recommended daily amount for adults. Though they may taste good, pure water should be the top choice to re-hydrate your little ones. Sports drinks are not any better than these water enhanced drinks, most of those drinks even have more sugar than many soft drinks. Not only is water better for your child, but it naturally rinses away a lot of the debris formed on teeth.
Smoothies: With the added mouth-healthy rewards of non-fat Greek yogurt and the nutritional benefits of fruit, smoothies are believed to be an overall healthy choice. However, improperly made smoothies can have excessive amounts of sugar packed in the high dose of calories. When buying or making smoothies, be sure to opt for the low-sugar fruits and limit the high-sugar fruits. Avoid these high-sugar fruits grapes, figs, pomegranates, mangoes, and cherries.
Dried Fruit: In the event you are trying to improve your child’s oral health, dried fruits should be avoided as well. Dried fruits have none of the water that helps fruit a healthy food and they contain increasingly higher levels of sugar than their natural state. For example, dried plums are prunes; 1 cup of prunes has 45 grams of sugar and 400 calories, whereas a plum has only 75 calories and a mere 16 grams of sugar. Choose fresh fruit instead of dried fruit.
Granola: For an added dietary benefit, granola has been advertised to enhance yogurt, or milk and as a healthy alternative to cereal. However, granola typically contains high amounts of sugar and fat which can lead to tooth decay and the high density of calories can leave your child hungry and often result in them overeating. If you insist on granola, be sure to check the nutritional value and opt for the ones high in fiber and low in sugar.
Trail Mix: Trail mix may seem like a healthy snack but many of the trail mix concoctions include unhealthy ingredients as well as increasingly high amounts of sugar and fat to their plate. Avoid the trail mixes that contain chocolate, dried fruit, and especially candy. Choose the mixes that don’t add sweets or are unflavored.
Pediatric Dental Care
With a healthy diet, optimal oral hygiene habits and dental visits every six months, your child can better preserve their teeth and avoid cavities and excessive tooth decay. Call Smile Reef today to make your child’s dental appointment for a checkup to keep their dental health on the right track.