What flavor of toothpaste (or gel) do you use? Well, I have a confession, I use fruit-flavored SpongeBob Squarepants blue gel. Why you ask? Well, during the pregnancy with my son, I had nausea for the first 6 months. I realized that my daughter's tooth gel made me gag less or not at all compared to my adult mint-flavored toothpaste. He is almost 14 months old. I'm not even sure why I haven't switched back, but I haven't. On our recent vacation, I even found myself reaching for my daughter's tooth gel over my husband's mint-flavored toothpaste. Kinda silly, I guess.
But this whole episode got me thinking about the children that I work with. Many of them over-respond to touch or taste sensations in their mouth. This makes teethbrushing a crazy experience. Suggestions I often give the parent for taste sensitivities is for them to switch brands of toothpaste, switch flavors, try gel not paste, or if worse comes to worse brush the teeth with no paste at all....better than not brushing, heh? For touch sensitivities, some suggestions I often give are to try a vibrating toothbrush, use firmer not softer bristles, and to let the child have some control such as choosing between 2 colors of toothbrushes or counting while brushing. For the young children with more severe touch sensitivity, we often need to work on oral-motor exercises during therapy sessions. Once I find out what works, I show the parents how to perform these exercises. Another idea is for "mouth play" so that occurrences in the mouth are pleasant. After all, these children often are picky eaters too. Some fun things for "mouth play" are to blow bubbles or whistles. Then, after all of that extra work, the child is able to tolerate getting his teeth brushed by someone else or brushing his own!