How to Get Your ASDers to Brush Their Teeth, I Hope…

“Did you brush your teeth this morning?”

“Why are you asking?”

“So, you are telling me that you don’t want to have teeth when you are older.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are, because that’s what will happen if you dont brush them. Why didn’t you brush them?”

“I didn’t feel anything on them.”

“What! You learned about cavities in second grade. Didn’t you learn that cavities are made by creatures we can’t see or feel?”


“Then why would everything have magically changed? Just because you can’t feel things on your teeth doesn’t mean you don’t brush them. You need to brush everyday!”

I have yelled, lectured, taken money away, promised rewards, etc for years now, with very little compliance. Unless I become drill sargent mom every morning, the brushing doesn’t happen. Oh, for a morning or two, maybe. But then it’s back to the same-old, same-old. I am really tired after so many years. Also, he really needs find an internal motivation, as I won’t be around to tell him to brush his teeth every morning for the rest of his life.

Then it hit me. He hates pureed food. As with most ASDers, he has very particular likes and dislikes when it comes to food texture. And very soft, very smooth food is on his list of, “no-likey!” He avoids all sauces, mashed potatoes, soups, etc. I do make him eat some of those foods just so that he knows he can do it if necessary, so he won’t go hungry out in the world. But if left to himself, he would never eat them.

“Since you won’t have any teeth to chew with, I am going to start getting you used to eating pureed foods, since that is what you will need after your teeth fall out. So, if you don’t brush your teeth tomorrow, I will just grind up your dinner and you can eat it that way. I have a lot of food grinders, so it will be no problem.”

“Nooooooo! I’ll brush my teeth!”

I really hope he follows through, as I would really rather not follow through on the consequence, but I will.

This might not work on your kid, but every ASDer has their kryptonite. What has worked for you? (I may need to try it if this ends up not working!)

Published by

Heather Holbrook

I found out that I have Autism upon having a son with the same "disorder." Ironically, I was voted, "Most Likely to Succeed," by my high school classmates. But had I been born now, instead of 40+ years ago, I would have been considered a different sort of special. This site was started to encourage other Autistics and the people who love them .

4 thoughts on “How to Get Your ASDers to Brush Their Teeth, I Hope…”

  1. So far it is working! I only have had to remind him once over the last several weeks. He even was brushing his teeth twice a day for awhile! But should he stop, I will try the other tactics suggested:)


  2. I showed my son google images of people with gum disease and black yucky teeth and stuff. Poor guy. He was traumatized by that. At least it worked though. He definitely does not want a mouth like those he saw. Hahaha.


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