If getting your child to dress, comb her hair, and brush her teeth is a daily battle, more than inattention may be to blame. Many kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) struggle with sensory sensitivity that makes personal hygiene tasks a challenge. We asked three moms of sensitive kids to try out alternatives to the typical toothbrush.
Fuchs Natural Bristle Toothbrush
Reviewer: Vicki, mom of Ben, age eight
I bought Ben the softest toothbrushes I could find, but he still said that brushing hurt his teeth. Natural bristles are often recommended for people with soft enamel or sensitive gums, so I thought they might work for Ben. The bristles of Fuchs Natural Bristle Toothbrush do have a different feel, and they are even softer than an extra-soft nylon bristle brush. At first, Ben was put off by the natural tan color of the bristles ("This is old! Somebody already used it!"), but once he tried it, he admitted that he preferred the feel of these bristles. Best of all, brushing his teeth is no longer painful.
Oral-B Pulsar Vibrating Toothbrush
Reviewer: Kay, mom of Natalie, age 11
Even though she worked on brushing her teeth in occupational therapy, Natalie hated the feel and taste of a toothbrush and toothpaste, leading to many school-morning skirmishes. But when Natalie put the Oral-B Pulsar in her mouth, it was magic: Her eyes dulled and drooped, and her breathing became progressively slower. The vibration is so calming that I have to remind her to keep the brush moving! I give the toothbrush top marks. Natalie says, "Two thumbs up!"
(specializedcare.com; $4.25, toddler size/$5, adult size)
Reviewer: Jill, mom of Emily, age nine
Emily would take only a few quick swipes at her teeth with a standard toothbrush, so I knew that she wasn’t reaching all of the tooth surfaces. The head of the Surround Toothbrush has three rows of bristles that reach the biting surface, the front, and the back of the teeth at once -- making the most of every second of brush-to-tooth contact. Emily doesn’t brush any longer than before, but she’s brushing more effectively. Emily says, “I like it better than my old boring toothbrush.” That’s progress for a kid to whom brushing teeth was punishment.