Open Wide! Parents' experiences of dental survey
Wednesday 29th January 2020
Caring for your child's teeth can be challenging at the best of times, but for parents with disabled children there may be additional challenges.
Last year we asked you for your experiences accessing dental care for your child. We wanted to know how dentistry services can be improved for disabled children.
We'll be publishing the full findings this year, so stay tuned. The results paint a mixed picture of dentistry services.
The right dentist can make a real difference but can be hard to find
What is clear from the responses we received is that a sympathetic and caring dentist can make a real difference to families and prevent longer-term problems escalating.
"We visit our NHS dentist every six months. My son is autistic and has anxiety associated with sensory processing challenges. Our dentist is incredibly gentle with him, allows him time to familiarise himself with the room and equipment, and addresses him directly at a level he is comfortable with".
However, finding information and getting a referral to see specialist dentists with knowledge and experience of disabilities such as autism can be difficult. Some families clearly had a very bad experience of dentists.
"It has to be THE MOST stressful thing I have to do when I take my daughter to the dentist!! The lack of understanding from the staff is mind blowing!!"
Good dental advice is vital
Tooth decay is almost always preventable and, by getting things right as early as possible, you may be able to avoid your child needing dental treatment. This is particularly important for children with learning disabilities and autism because they may find going to the dentist and having treatment a very stressful experience.
This will mean extra care is needed both in preparation for, and during the dental visit. Dental staff may not be familiar with your child's method or style of communication and behaviours. So it is important to find a dentist who understands and is able to support you and your child.
Over the next few months we'll share information from parents and dental experts on how to care for your children's teeth and how to access dental care.
Try our dental products designed for children who have additional needs
For many children and adults, the strong flavour and foaming action of toothpaste can be unpleasant. This can result in spitting and gagging when the teeth are brushed. This can be particularly uncomfortable for those with sensory processing issues or trouble swallowing.
Our non-foaming, un-flavoured Oranurse Toothpaste can make teeth brushing a more pleasant experience for both you and your child.
Best paired with Dr Barman's Superbrush toothbrushes, which have a double head that allows children with sensory issues to brush their teeth more easily.