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7 Tips for Oral Sensory Defensiveness and toothbrushing

If you have a child that has SPD (sensory processing disorder) with Oral Sensory Defensiveness, you know that dental health can be a challenge. The flavor of toothpaste can wreak havoc on your child. The foaming of the toothpaste. The fact that something with texture has to go into their mouth? GASP! The horror!! But there are a few things you can do to help your child!

7 Tips for Oral Sensory Defensiveness and toothbrushing

Oral Sensory Defensiveness and Dental Health

Oral Sensory Defensiveness is just another way of saying you have a child with Sensory Processing Disorder. And that part of those sensory issues occur in their mouth.

There are 2 different types of Oral Sensory Defensiveness. HYPOsensitivity and HYPERsensitivity.

Hyposensitivities are those who can’t sense a lot of feeling of what is happening inside their mouth. This results sometimes into a child over stuffing their mouth or drooling excessively. They develop a lot of anxiety with anything to do with their mouth.

Hypersensitivity is when someone is extra aware of the sensations in their mouth. This results in your child being picky with foods, having problems with textures of food, refusing to brush their teeth and more. The sensations can actually be painful for your child.

Here are some ways you can help your child manage their Oral Sensory Defensiveness so that you can establish a healthy dental routine.

Use Situational Stories. Sometimes simple things such as brushing your teeth, flossing, using mouthwash can really be a struggle for a child with Oral Sensory Defensiveness.

Helping them know what to expect before you begin can help calm them and better manage the struggle. So tell them fun stories about how their favorite stuffed animal is taking care of his teeth. Or read books about brushing teeth.

Make sure to mention every step you will be doing with your child as well.

The same applies when it comes to preparing for the Dentist Visit. Prepare your child before you arrive on what to expect and exactly what the Dentist and assistants will be doing with their mouth, so they can mentally prepare for it.

You can use books to help tell the story. Like Little Critter Goes to the Dentist is a great one and a classic book to help kids not be scared of the dentist.

Include a “friend”. Have your child practice the method of teeth brushing with their favorite stuffed animal or doll.

This helps them put their anxiety off from themselves. It helps them to feel a sense of control as they perform the task. Then they are better equipped mentally to perform the task on themselves.

Use Sensory reducing items. The process of brushing teeth can be an irritate for some kids with Oral Sensory Defensiveness. It is for my daughter.

Sometimes having something like a Weighted blanket, weighted lap pad, compression clothing, or even noise blocking headphones on their ears can help.

Anything that helps reduce the sensory exposure in other areas can help them better manage the sensory stimulus they will experience while brushing their teeth.

Again, this is also a great idea for a visit to the dentist. A weighted blanket and noise blocking headphones can be your child’s best friend in the dentist’s chair.

7 Tips for Oral Sensory Defensiveness and toothbrushing

Find the sensory input that calms the child down and use that to your advantage while you are doing the ritual of brushing teeth or visiting the dentist.

Begin Sensory Training Early. Fraser Special Needs website has a great resource for training your oral sensory defensiveness child to accept having a toothbrush in their mouth.

Try this method to begin the routine. Through simple massage techniques, you can help your child accept the texture of a toothbrush in their mouth.

Picking the Right Tools. Some kids may not be able to manage having an actual toothbrush right away. This is something you will have to work towards.

Instead to begin let them use their finger until they can manage a toothbrush. Anything to get the good dental health habits in place early.

7 Tips for Oral Sensory Defensiveness and toothbrushing

Later you can let them pick their own toothbrush. Sometimes letting your child pick out their own toothbrush will help them overcome the challenge of feeling it in their mouth.

There are many different types of toothbrushes some with softer bristles, some with harder bristles, and some with silicone bristles.

Take into account the type of sensory defensiveness your child experiences and experiment with different type of bristles on the toothbrush until you find one that works well with your child.

Try different flavors. Like most kids, overpowering flavors are not a good thing. But that is extra crucial for a child with oral sensory defensiveness. Pick a toothpaste with a very mild flavor. Try different flavors.

Likewise, toothpaste that foams a lot is another large obstacle. My daughter literally gags on the excess foam of toothpaste (can’t blame her so do I!) And anything with a strong mint flavor is out the window!

That is why I love Livionex Dental Gel! The Livionex Dental Gel doesn’t bubble or foam when you brush with it. Talk about a Dream come true for any Mom with an oral SPD child!

7 Tips for Oral Sensory Defensiveness and toothbrushing

Foaming action comes from detergents. Since Livionex Dental Gel contains no detergents and also does not contain abrasives like silica it doesn’t foam. As a result, after you apply the dental gel to your toothpaste, you should not wet the brush with water. 

Livionex Dental Gel was found to clean teeth 2.5 times better than a leading toothpaste. Plus it was found to also reduce bad Morning breath after regular use! And it is two times better at controlling overnight plaque buildup!

Another bonus for parents is the Livionex contains ZERO artificial ingredients. It’s all natural, which is important for parents dealing with special needs as often times artificial ingredients and colors aggravate behavior in special needs children.

Livionex is great for my daughter. The flavor is Mild enough that it doesn’t cause her to gag and refuse to brush her teeth. And without the foaming it becomes a great experience for her.

For me, I love that Livionex cleans better than leading toothpaste. For me, this is WIN WIN! My daughter is getting clean teeth and we are reducing the amount of sensory struggles she is facing!

7 Tips for Oral Sensory Defensiveness and toothbrushing

And she’s not the only one loving the Livionex Dental Gel!

In addition to my daughter, I am also using and loving Livionex Dental Gel. It makes my  mouth feel amazingly clean. It has a VERY mild mint flavor from real peppermint oil. I love how a little goes a long way.

Livionex comes in a Dental Gel tube or an AirFree Pump. I almost like the pump better. The gel comes out very quickly from the tube and I almost always make a mess, even expecting it to come out quickly.


The Pump offers a pre-measured amount to dispense and makes application easier. Especially for little kids.

7 Tips for Oral Sensory Defensiveness and toothbrushing

Find Livionex on Twitter and Facebook to connect Socially. Purchase your own on Livionex online.

Establish a routine. Children need routine. And that routine is extra crucial if you have a special needs child.

Give them a routine to follow and it will help them better manage the stress of the situation. A routine could be as simple as

  • Sip of water
  • apply Livionex Dental Gel to toothbrush (or finger)
  • Brush left rear teeth top and sides
  • Brush Right rear teeth top and sides
  • Move to Brush left front teeth top and back
  • Move to Brush Right front teeth top and back
  • Brush outer front teeth
  • Spit
  • Rince

Most of all, having a toothbrushing routine with the same method every time, helps them feel a sense of control and they know exactly what to expect.

Sometimes for my daughter simply having the husband there brushing his teeth at the same time as her is what she needs to be able to manage the struggle of her oral sensory defensiveness.

7 Tips for Oral Sensory Defensiveness and toothbrushingIt may take time to help your child with sensory defensiveness to get to a point where they can brush their teeth. That’s OKAY! Remember to take baby steps. Just be patient, consistent, and persistent.

Use this Discount Code: BCM10JUL to get 10% off any order of Livionex Dental gel from their website or Amazon until August 26, 2016!

7 Tips for Oral Sensory Defensiveness and toothbrushing

How do you help your child with sensory Defensiveness brush their teeth?

More information can be found at It can be purchased on the website or at

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Livionex. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Saturday 6th of August 2016

Oh wow, I had no idea this was even a thing that some people had to struggle with. I'm so glad you've found some things that work for you and your daughter though!! When I was in high school, I was in an accident which broke three of my front teeth. I had to have a LOT of dental work in the following months, and I remember how helpful headphones were!! Thanks so much for sharing, I know this will be so helpful to many <3


Tuesday 26th of July 2016

This is a great example of how patience and great resources can make a huge difference for children. I hadn't considered how much one experiences when brushing his or her teeth, but there really is a lot that could be concerning for someone with sensory concerns.


Tuesday 26th of July 2016

headphones at the dentist would be a big hit for ME and I have no sensory issues at all. I just hate the dentist!

Allie D.

Tuesday 26th of July 2016

I don't think my daughter is either of those sensitivities, but I'll know to be more aware now. She is just learning to brush her teeth, and I'm trying to get her to not swallow her toothpaste. Thankfully, she's getting better.


Tuesday 26th of July 2016

This is really helpful info. My daughter is getting better with brushing lately.

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