"Sorry Miss, my son ate my product review!"

"A couple of moths ago I came across this website which produces toothbrushes specifically for people with oral defensiveness and special needs.

After an exchange of emails I was sent a small sample, which when it arrived on the mat was mistaken for a DVD by Mr Boo, opened and destroyed. (chewed in half basically).

See, I am perhaps in the unique position of having one orally fixated and one orally defensive child. One has always had magnificent if slightly chipped teeth; thanks to a diet of car wheels, computer keys, bottle caps, classmates, special needs assistants and the occasional toothbrush. He has always brushed several times a day without issue.

And the other had to have seven baby teeth removed under General Anaesthetic in hospital, thanks to decay. (She could have had fillings but as a public patient they would only do "emergency" extractions or it's a long wait).

A combination of poor diet (a fondness for sticky caramel and honeycombe type treats) and extreme oral defensiveness led us to that position: and a mistaken belief that baby teeth don't matter.

When I noticed it I took action and requested a special needs dentist visit the school.

Then I was made to feel like a combination of Myra Hindley and Maxine Carr as the dentist managed to identify enough decay in Bratty's clenched jaws to make referral to the dental hospital. (The dentist's attitude softened when he met Mr Beautiful Teeth shortly afterwards.)

It was only the follow up visit of a Dental Health Officer that allowed me to forgive myself. You see, she explained how people in extreme circumstances will often let aspects of their health go. And living with two very autistic kids, one with undiagnosed ADD does count as an extreme circumstance. The little girl got everything she wanted, when she wanted and when she finally fell asleep, we wouldn't dare touch her.

Even when I did see the damage and began taking control of her diet and oral health; I was up against it.

Extended family saw "no harm" in giving her Crunchies and Mini-Mars; and may holy war be declared on the inventor of the Creme Egg. Even in school it was hard to stop them giving sweeties as rewards for tasks. The new school uses 'Garden, Swing, Ball Pool, Computer and Tickles' to get Bratty to work. The old school was less imaginative but I stuck with it. The vision of my tiny girl waking up in a hospital gown with a bleeding mouth after surgery was enough to push me on.

Getting a toothbrush into her mouth was torture. I had to sit on her and literally hold her down last thing every night, regardless of whether it meant waking her up from possible sleep - and ensuring two hour tantrum.

Dental check-ups involved me in the chair (wearing leggings or stretch jeans) with my legs wrapped around Bratty, one arm holding her arms and one in what can only be described as a headlock. The new dentist is a real darling; she gets in, checks and fluoridate the remaining old and emerging new teeth in jig time; and thanks be to God, all are doing well.

You see, baby teeth do matter. They hurt when they decay and if you lose them the next row of teeth will have no idea which direction to come in, and you can end up with a whole mess of crookedness. So you have to brush! As completely as you can! Every day!

And that's where the Collis Curve comes in. As you can see, it has curved bristles which address both sides of the teeth at the same time. Cover it with toothpaste and get it in and over all the teeth every night after the last snack or drink and you are halfway there. As the website says it solves the problem of:

Anxiety over intrusion into the mouth

Small jaws and difficulty opening the mouth

Special needs and disability care

Having to brush another person's teeth - QUICKLY

If only I heard of them ten years ago!



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