When children visit the dentist, it can be an overwhelming experience. There are a lot of elements at the dentist office such as loud noises, bright lights, and strange tastes that can cause a lot of anxiety in young patients. However, in children and patients with ADHDADHD, dental appointments can be much harder for them. This is because certain behavioral issues can cause increased anxiety and fear.
Children with ADHD are also at a higher risk for suffering from dental issues so it’s important that they visit the dentist regularly and have an effective oral care routine. This article will lay out how to prepare for your child’s visit and some dental care tips to help them have a healthy mouth.
Preparing for the Dentist
It’s important that any child is comfortable with visiting the dentist regularly. As mentioned, children with ADHD may have increased, fear, or behavioral issues when visiting the dentist. However, there are ways you can prepare at home prior to your child’s dental appointment that can help them to have a successful visit.
One great way to help your child prepare for their dental visit is by using visual and audio resources to give them an idea of what they can expect. There are many kid-friendly books and videos about going to the dentist that can help ease their anxiety. You can also turn dental visits into an interactive game at home and have your child practice laying down with their feet out flat and their mouth wide open.
Also, you may want to schedule a familiarization appointment for your child. These appointments are scheduled prior to an actual dental appointment and give your child the opportunity to visit the dental office without any work being done. This can help them become familiar with some of the sensory elements and gives them a chance to meet the dentist and office staff in a low-stress setting. Talk to your dentist about scheduling a familiarization appointment as it can be extremely helpful in assuring that your child is comfortable at the dentist office.
Dental Care Tips
Since children with ADHD are at a higher risk for dental issues, it’s important that as a parent, you can help them develop a good dental care routine. Here are some tips for dental care at home.
Your child should brush and floss their teeth twice a day. Timers can be helpful in ensuring proper brushing time. If your child is at a higher cavity risk due to their medication, they may benefit from a prescription toothpaste.
Also, avoid rewarding good behavior with starchy carbs and sugary sweets. Since most children with ADHD are prone to cavities and dental caries, it may be best to reward their behavior with toys or other items instead. Encourage your child to eat healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, and cheese.
Dental care is important to your child’s overall health and well-being, and while children with ADHD may have some anxiety centered around visiting the dentist, there are luckily many ways you can help your child prepare for visiting the dentist. Regular visits and a good oral care routine will lead them on the path towards a healthy mouth.
Dr. Greg Grillo (dentably.com) - Dr. Grillo has been practicing family dentistry for more than 17 years and has worked with many patients with special needs. He’s committed to providing the best information on dental care to families.