Take the Battle Out of Tooth Brushing.

So you bought the kiddie friendly toothbrush in the shape of Shrek and the kiddie friendly toothpaste that the adverts promised, “no child could resist.” Then why does your child with Autism run from the bathroom every time he sees the tooth brush?

Its not that our children have a phobia of toothbrushes, its that they do not want the fight that often times happens once the tooth brush appears. You want to help your child not get a cavity, they want to avoid being held down while a tooth brush is being prised into their mouths.
1. Think, ” I want my child to love brushing his own teeth, and to want to do it, versus just getting it done tonight.”
2. “My child is more likely to entertain the thought of brushing his own teeth if I give him control.”
3.”If I keep doing the same thing, I will keep getting the same result.”
4. Stop forcing the toothbrush into his mouth, and focus on making that toothbrush friendly and inviting to him, so he stops associating the toothbrush with a fight.
5. Get a bunch of toothbrushes and put them in your playroom, keep one in your top pocket, and start playing tooth brushing games.
6.If your child likes to be tickled, try tickling him with the tooth brush.
7.Brush the teddies teeth, play pretend dentist, where your child is the dentist, and you and the teddies or figurines are the patients.
8. Play super hero, where the super power comes from brushing your teeth. Once you brush your teeth you can fly, or have super human strength.
9. During these games encourage your child to touch and befriend the tooth brush. Cheering him when he does.
10.During the games, always give control, let your child know, that no means no, if they do not want to touch the toothbrush or want it to go away, you will put it away immediately. Then after a while, lets say a hour later you can re – introduce it in a fun and exciting way.
11. Once your child realized they do really have control they most likely will open themselves up to exploring the act of tooth brushing, because they know they can stop it at any time.
Have fun and let go!
Enjoy Kate

2 Responses

  1. Yee Hah!! Thanks Kate. After a certain period of head locks, I found a solution that works for us. I use two toothbrushes. Christopher has a turn first – where he usually chews the toothbrush (this used to annoy me before i got my own toothbrush) and takes his time, exploring and enjoying the control. I congratulate him when he shows me how he brushes his teeth. Then, it's mummy's turn, and then he lets me brush after him… It still takes a while for him to have his turn before he gives me mine, but it is SO much better than the fight!!

  2. selim says:

    Although I have tried several strategies and trying to make it as fun as possible, I'm still struggling to get my 5 year old son brush his teeth. I am starting to believe that he doesn't like the feeling of toothbrush touching his teeth. When I put the toothpaste on the toothbrush and give it to him, he will then lick the tooth paste (he likes the taste of it, low flouride strawberry flavour). He hates the taste of mint. We have actually tried every possible toothpaste available on the market, but he just does not want it. We've started worrying about his teeth health now, they do look brown. If I push then he will maybe do a few strokes then that's it. Any ideas?

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