Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide
ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
These resources were developed for parents and caregivers to help children with autism prepare for dental visits. Content covers learning to tolerate tooth brushing, establishing dental hygiene routines, and getting ready for dental visits. There are also social stories for getting teeth cleaned, getting x-rays, and getting a cavity filled.
These resources provide information about how to exercise proper dental care with your child. These resources cover preparing for a dental visit, learning to tolerate tooth brushing, and establishing a dental hygiene routine with your child.
Developed by ASERT in collaboration with UPMC for You Dental Care Managers.
Preparing your child for a dental appointment well in advance can build excitement and develop an understanding of what to expect during the visit. Consider the tips below to help your child plan for and visualize a successful trip to the dentist.
Dentists recommend children be actively supervised when brushing their teeth until 7-8 years of age. Some children may require assistance longer. The purpose of this resource is to assist parents and caregivers in helping their children become more comfortable brushing their teeth or having their teeth brushed. Consider a gradual approach as described below. This resource may be especially helpful for children with sensory sensitivities.
It may also be helpful to show your child how you brush your own teeth or even brush along with them. It is important to remember that every child will have his or her own timeline for mastering each skill and feeling comfortable brushing their teeth on their own. Go slow! If the child starts to show signs of agitation, stop and take a break. Go back to a step the child can tolerate. Brushing should not be a negative experience.
The purpose of this resource is to assist parents and caregivers in establishing a dental hygiene routine with their children. It is important to brush twice a day, once in the morning and once at bedtime.
Establishing dental care as a natural part of the daily routine will make the task much easier.
Choose a soothing place to brush that does not have excessive or harsh lighting. Make the experience as pleasant as possible by incorporating songs and toys. Make up tooth brushing songs to familiar tunes. Use the child’s favorite toys to soothe during tooth brushing or to show the process.
If your child is resistant to tooth brushing, try changing the toothbrush or toothpaste. An electric toothbrush may be helpful. If all else fails, try a warm washcloth. Children’s toothpastes are often less intense in flavor than adult toothpastes. Try various flavors to find one the child can tolerate. If the child cannot tolerate toothpaste, brushing with water alone is better than not brushing at all!
Break a simple task like tooth brushing into smaller component steps. Once you have identified the steps, instruct the child one step at a time. This process is known as “forward chaining.” Reward the child by praising them for each step they can perform on his own. Click here for more information about teaching new skills.
Take photos of yourself or your child during each step of the tooth brushing process. Use the photos to tell your child the story or process of tooth brushing. Read this story to your child every day.
These social stories provide a visual explanation of what to expect when going to the dentist, when getting a cavity filled, and when getting x-rays.View Resource
|Establishing a Dental Routine||Establishing a Dental Routine||Download file: Establishing a Dental Routine|
|Toothbrushing Tolerance||Toothbrushing Tolerance||Download file: Toothbrushing Tolerance|
|Preparing Your Child for a Dental Visit||Preparing Your Child for a Dental Visit||Download file: Preparing Your Child for a Dental Visit|
This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.