If you have a child with autism there is a big chance that you are all too aware of sensory difficulties.
One of the most common issues parents have shared with me since blogging is problems with personal care- hair washing, hair brushing, teeth brushing and washing/bathing with many children and adults with autism struggling and their parents running out of ideas.
It’s common knowledge that Isla has sensory issues, the biggest being issues with her hair and the second biggest being issues with her teeth.
Isla hates her hair being touched, she doesn’t like having her hair or her teeth brushed and she doesn’t like her hair being washed. It can be quite traumatic for her, and for me as I hate seeing her distressed.
Brushing Islas teeth usually involves Isla moving her head so I can’t get to her mouth, she sometimes says ‘no’, she sometimes runs away, she sometimes leads you in to a false sense of security and lets you put the brush in her mouth and then she clamps on to it, sometimes she just admits defeat and gives you about a ten second window to clean as many teeth as you can.
She has just got her adult front teeth and so I’m even more conscious of the need to take care of them.
I have previously reviewed dignity’s waterless shampoo after emailing them explaining our dilemma. Honestly I didn’t expect much but at my wits end I was open to anything. I was so impressed by that particular product that I gave it a great review (please follow this link https://www.islasvoice.co.uk/2018/06/10/waterless-shampoo/ ) and emailed Dignity to ask if they would send me some of their toothpaste to try too.
That is exactly what they did!
and here it’s is:-
We have had the toothpaste long enough now to have given it a thorough test and as with all things I give to the kids I have also tried it myself.
I tried it first. I didn’t really know what to expect but I was a bit surprised because just as it says on the tube it tastes of, well nothing! Nothing at all. I had honestly expected it to taste of something, yet it didn’t.
The second thing that I noticed but hadn’t even given much thought to prior to trying the product was that it doesn’t foam up. It goes on the brush as a paste, when it goes in to your mouth and over your teeth it remains a paste. This made me wonder if this was what was bothering Isla too, I’d always just assumed it was the taste of the toothpaste and the feeling of the bristles on the toothbrush. It had never occurred to me that the foamy toothpaste filling her mouth could be an issue for her.
Now I knew what it was like for myself, I was ready to try it on Isla and I’ve tried it on Isla a lot!
Obviously Isla can’t tell me what she thinks about it so I can only go on how she reacts and I have to say she has reacted really well.
As I said above, Isla used to quite often clamp her mouth shut when you attempted to brush her teeth, often once the brush was in her mouth so you couldn’t move it around. She does still do that from time to time but not anywhere near as often as she did.
The other thing I’ve noticed is that if you tell Isla you are going to be brushing her teeth she will now open her mouth to let you more often than not. Now I’m not going to pretend that Isla let’s me brush her teeth for two whole minutes morning and night because she doesn’t, but she is letting me brush them for a little while longer, while sitting still and with minimum fuss when doing so.
Isla has brushed her own teeth a few times too!
Isla’s overall oral hygiene has definitely improved, she is happier to have her teeth brushed, for a while longer than previously and I’m no longer chasing her around the room.
It’s still an issue for her and I anticipate it always will be but this toothpaste definitely seems to be helping with that.
I got this toothpaste as part of the dignity personal hygiene sensory bundle https://www.dignitylcservices.co.uk/product-page/personal-hygiene-sensory-bundles as it works out cheaper in the long run than buying small amounts separately and obviously having more products means they will last you longer (although I have to say we’ve still got a fair amount of toothpaste left and she’s been using it weeks).
Will I be getting more of this bundle? Yes- both the shampoo and toothpaste are a great way of helping Isla with her sensory issues, they won’t aliviate them because quite honestly nothing ever will but it’s obvious from her reaction that both of them are proving helpful and she’s more than happy to use them. That’s what is important to me – Isla’s happiness.
Would I recommend these products? Yes, yes, yes! I’ve already recommended the waterless shampoo and I’d definitely recommend the unflavoured toothpaste for people with autism and/or sensory issues or even people who just don’t like the taste of toothpaste. I found it a bit of a weird sensation myself, with it being flavourless and non foaming (who wouldn’t find it odd when you’ve used foamy, minty toothpaste for thirty five years) but isla very obviously prefers it. I’d say it’s pretty amazing stuff!
Well done Dignity! It’s not very often I find a business that has considered sensory issues and tried to resolve some of the real issues people have with them. I’m looking forward to seeing what other products you come up with in the future.
If you wanted to give it a try, you can find it here and you can get 20% off with the discount code ISLA20 (please note you must use capitals for it to work).