A Guide to ADHD and Dental Care (2023)

A Guide to ADHD and Dental Care (1)

ADHD, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, is a chronic condition that makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control impulsive behavior. When it comes to going to the dentist, ADHD patients tend to feel anxious or stressed, which can make it difficult for them to concentrate and sit still during a dental appointment.

with aroundADHD is diagnosed in 9.2% of children aged 2 to 17 years, it is important for nurses and dentists to help ADHD patients develop healthy oral hygiene habits and feel comfortable with the dentist. Our dental experts Dr. Greg Grillo and Dr. Andrew Jordan has spent years working with patients and caregivers, educating them on the importance of dental care and giving them tips for visiting the dentist.

A Guide to ADHD and Dental Care (2)

"For teens with ADHD, their introduction to dentistry often determines how they approach oral health for the rest of their lives. As service providers, we can make their lives a little better with a positive, patient approach.”


  1. ADHD and dental care | Printable resources
  2. The most common dental problem in patients with ADHD
  3. Dental care tips for ADHD patients
  4. Find the right dentist
  5. Dental sedation
  6. Preparing for an appointment at the dentist
  7. Diploma
  8. National ADHD Resources

ADHD and dental care | Printable resources

ADHD and dental care- This printable PDF is a great guide for sharing all the information we've gathered on this site!

Questions to ask your dentist before your appointment- Dr. Greg Grillo has compiled a list of useful questions that you can print out and take with you when you meet with future dentists.

A Guide to ADHD and Dental Care (3)

(Video) The Dentist's Guide: ADHD and Dental Care

The most common dental problem in patients with ADHD

The most common dental problem that many dentists see in ADHD patients is tooth decay. There are various reasons for this.

First, children with ADHD can sometimes find it difficult to perform routine activities such as brushing or flossing. These poor oral hygiene practices put people with ADHD at risk of tooth decay. In a study he conductedNational Center for Biotechnology Information, only 48% of children with ADHD brush their teeth every morning, and only 48% brush their teeth every evening. This low percentage proves why it is important to instill a dental care routine from an early age.

Another reason why children with ADHD are at risk for tooth decay is medication. Medications used to treat ADHD can lead to changes in diet and appetite, which can increase a child's risk of tooth decay. Side effects of ADHD medications, such as dry mouth, also predispose to tooth decay.

Another studyshowed that children with ADHD were almost 12 times more likely to have a large number of diseased, missing and filled teeth.

A Guide to ADHD and Dental Care (4)

Dental care tips for ADHD patients

Developing an oral hygiene routine is important for a person's overall health. This can be more difficult for people with ADHD, but with repetition and practice it is possible.

Here are some dental care tips for parents of children with ADHD:

  • Use highly stimulating teaching materials
  • Create an atmosphere of trust with a gentle but firm approach
  • Repeat the simplified instructions several times
  • Use an at-home brushing chart to keep track of your brushing schedule
  • Emphasize brushing rather than brushing technique.
  • You can use positive reinforcement/rewards for better results
  • Using the Tell Show Do method has proven to be very effective

The most important thing to remember is that establishing an oral hygiene routine can take time and be a process of trial and error. Be patient and try a combination of techniques until you find what works best for your child.

ADHD - Dental care tips for dentists

A Guide to ADHD and Dental Care (5)

Some dentists may be new to treating patients with additional needs. Treatment of patients with ADHD can be simple and acronymicUNENCRYPTEDcan help parents and dentists to facilitate the examination of the child.

(Video) My oral health routine - Clean your teeth like a dentist

  • understanding your patient
  • attitude without value
  • Quiet. Stay calm and relaxed
  • paragraph. Keep a positive attitude
  • praises. Be generous with positive praise
  • Patient. Be patient with your customers' needs
  • Compassion
  • immediacy

Find the right dentist

In addition to an effective dental routine, it is important that your child visits the dentist regularly. Finding the right dentist plays a big role in your child's oral health, so it's important not to give up when you start your search until you find someone you think would be a good fit.

When looking for the right dentist, be sure to ask questions as they will help you make decisions. Here are some questions to get you started:

A Guide to ADHD and Dental Care (6)

1. Are you comfortable working with an ADHD patient?

The dentist you choose should be comfortable working with patients who have additional needs. If the patient is a child, you should start looking for pediatric dentists. You have 2-3 years of additional schooling and can better adapt your child's visit to his needs.

2. What is your experience in working with patients with ADHD?

When talking to future dentists, listen for specific examples of when they have worked with ADHD patients. Dentists with previous experience will generally feel more comfortable when it comes to making your child's visit go smoothly.

3. Can special precautions be taken?

A good dentist should be able to answer yes to this question. Your goal should be to make your child feel as comfortable as possible. Some accommodation options you could ask for are if you can stay with them for the entire term or if the waiting time can be shortened. These small adjustments can make a big difference in your child's overall dental experience.

Remember that as a caregiver, you are responsible for visiting the dentist, so ask any questions that come to mind. The more information you can gather, the better your dental appointment will go.

(Video) Dental health and ADHD. #drsasha #adhd #shorts

You can start looking for a dentist by contacting local dental clinics in your area. TheAmerican Dental Associationalso has a directory where you can search dentists by city, state and specialty.

Dental sedation

A Guide to ADHD and Dental Care (7)

Patients with additional needs may benefit from dental sedation during the examination. Sedation is sometimes necessary when the patient needs dental treatment and does not want to work with a dentist.

There are several types of sedation that your dentist may offer. They include:

  • Inhaled minimal sedation: the patient inhales nitrous oxide combined with oxygen to relax. With this method, your dentist has complete control over the medicine.
  • Oral sedation: May vary from minimal to moderate. Oral sedation is most often associated with sedation dentistry. The patient is given a pill that makes him sleepy; a more moderate dose may induce sleep in the patient.
  • IV moderate sedation: Sedation is given to the patient through a vein and works more quickly. Your dentist can continuously adjust sedation levels.
  • Deep sedation and general anesthesia: drugs are given that make the patient almost or completely unconscious. You cannot wake up easily from general anesthesia until the effects of the medicine wear off or wear off.

A Guide to ADHD and Dental Care (8)

"The key is to find a strategy that works for each patient. With safe, supervised techniques, there is a sedation solution for every situation and it can make a significant difference to a person's current and future health.”

Preparing for an appointment at the dentist

After choosing a dentist and making an appointment for your child or loved one, it is important to prepare them for the dentist visit. Preparation gives them an idea of ​​what to expect during the meeting. There are many things you can do, so find what works best for you and your child.

  1. Help you imagine what happens at the dentist
  2. Using pictures is a great way to see what's going on at the dentist. This can be done with picture books or videos and gives the patient the opportunity to make a connection between the pictures and their dental appointment.

    (Video) Dentists have ADHD too!

  3. Go to the dentist early
  4. Visiting the dentist before the actual appointment can be beneficial as it allows the patient to become familiar with the environment, eg B. can see lights and hear sounds. You and your child can meet with the office and staff and arrange any other things that need to be done.

A visit to the dentist should be a good experience, so make sure conversations about the dentist are positive and informative.


Dental care and regular visits to the dentist are key to an individual's overall health and well-being. Certain behavioral problems can make it difficult for someone with ADHD to develop healthy oral hygiene habits, and medications put ADHD sufferers at high risk of tooth decay. As a caregiver, never compromise the dental health of your child or loved one and do your best to teach them healthy dental hygiene practices, including regular dental checkups.

A Guide to ADHD and Dental Care (9)

"Although parents often wonder if their children are listening, repetition and positive reinforcement often do more good than they realize. Using a child-sized electric toothbrush is one way to increase efficiency, especially for children with short attention spans.”

National ADHD Resources

There are many great resources for families and individuals affected by ADHD.

TheAttention Deficit Disorder Associationaims to help people with ADHD live better lives by providing information, resources and support. When you become a member, you get access to a directory of healthcare providers to get the care your child or loved one may need.

CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder)is the leading national non-profit organization for people with ADHD. You can search their extensive directory of experts by city, state and specialty. They also offer online community resources for those seeking support groups and other members of the ADHD community.

(Video) NEW! Dr. K's Guide to Mental Health: ADHD Expansion Module

Cited studies

  1. Blomqvist M, Holmberg K, Fernell E, et al. Dental caries and oral health behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Eur J Oral Sci. 2007 June;115(3):186-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0722.2007.00451.x.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. ADHD: Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. pediatrics. 2011 October, 128 (5): 1-6.
  3. Dowst-Mayo L. How to work effectively with patients who have ADHD. Dent Econ. September 2014: 105-110.


How does ADHD affect dental treatment? ›

ADHD often makes it difficult for a child to pay attention and control impulsive behaviors. When it comes to going to the dentist, children with ADHD may tend to feel anxious or stressed, which can make it hard for them to focus and sit still during a dental appointment.

Do ADHD struggle dental hygiene? ›

Oral Health in ADHD Patients

Children with ADHD have a poor overall oral health status than those without ADHD. Poor oral hygiene habits contribute to a higher prevalence of cavities and dental caries in children with ADHD.

Is it hard to brush teeth with ADHD? ›

Several ADHD traits can make it hard to maintain personal hygiene. Being easily distracted can make you forego things like taking a bath or brushing your teeth. Being sensitive to hygiene products can also pose a challenge. Of course, there are instances of being forgetful with activities that concern cleanliness.

What things make ADHD worse? ›

11 Things That Make Adult ADHD Worse
  • Lack of Exercise. 1/11. If your memory is hazy, your ADHD may be to blame. ...
  • Eating Out Often. 2/11. ...
  • Too Much Junk Food. 3/11. ...
  • Skipping Breakfast. 4/11. ...
  • Messy Homes and Offices. 5/11. ...
  • Too Much Stuff. 6/11. ...
  • The Wrong Meds. 7/11. ...
  • Lack of Sleep. 8/11.
Nov 18, 2021

What triggers worse ADHD? ›

For many individuals, ADHD impairments are made worse by their struggles with excessive anxiety, persistent depression, compulsive behaviors, difficulties with mood regulation, learning disorders, or other psychiatric disorders that may be transient, recurrent, or persistently disruptive of their ability to perform the ...

What is the hardest subject for people with ADHD? ›

Students with ADHD tend to have higher rates of math learning disabilities as compared to the general student population. 1 Even those students with ADHD who do not qualify for a math disability may still have a terrible time with math.

Why is cleaning so hard with ADHD? ›

Adults with ADHD often have problems dealing with day-to-day tasks. They tend to be forgetful, disorganized, and messy. This makes cleaning with ADHD nearly an insurmountable task, especially since cleaning seems like such a chore to neurotypicals themselves.

What subject do people with ADHD struggle with the most? ›

Students who are affected by ADHD often have a hard time with math because their memory is not very strong and blocking out external stimuli is a struggle. Memory, which is where information is stored for later use, is one of many executive functions.

What are the best tips for cleaning with ADHD? ›

Straighten Up in Spurts. If it's hard to concentrate on one task, such as folding laundry or washing dishes, all the way to completion, try doing it in increments. One of the easiest cleaning tips is to set a timer for 15 minutes, and stay on task until it goes off. If you think you can keep going, reset the timer.

How do you focus on cleaning when you have ADHD? ›

ADHD can make cleaning and home organization challenging. The key to tackling your chores is to make each task clear, remove as many barriers as you can, create routines, and use lists, charts, calendar reminders, and other tools that help keep you on track.

Can people with ADHD tidy up? ›

People with ADHD who have a hard time keeping things tidy usually aren't being lazy or thoughtless. They have trouble with a group of skills needed to tackle cleanup tasks and stay organized. These skills are known as executive function.

Why are ADHD so messy? ›

People with ADHD have a difficult time with many of the executive functioning skills most of us unconsciously use every day. These invisible skills are what enable us to plan, prioritize, manage our time, and get things done. A person without ADHD might look at a messy room and think, “Okay.

Do people with ADHD pick their nails? ›

ADHD can cause excessive nail-biting, hair-pulling, and skin-picking.

Why does chewing help ADHD? ›

In 2009, the Baylor College of Medicine in England conducted a study that showed chewing gum actually reduces stress for kids with ADHD. They reported that chewing is soothing and helps calm nerves, thanks to its repetition. When kids with ADHD chew gum, they may have fewer behavioral problems or emotional outbursts.

What age does ADHD peak? ›

The symptoms may peak in severity when the child is seven to eight years of age, after which they often begin to decline. By the adolescent years, the hyperactive symptoms may be less noticeable, although ADHD can continue to be present.

What should ADHD not eat? ›

Some of the common foods that can cause ADHD reactions include milk, chocolate, soy, wheat, eggs, beans, corn, tomatoes, grapes, and oranges. If you suspect a food sensitivity may be contributing to your child's ADHD symptoms, talk to your ADHD dietitian or doctor about trying an elimination diet.

What does an ADHD shutdown look like? ›

Differences in emotions in people with ADHD can lead to 'shutdowns', where someone is so overwhelmed with emotions that they space out, may find it hard to speak or move and may struggle to articulate what they are feeling until they can process their emotions.

What is an ADHD meltdown? ›

ADHD meltdowns are sudden outbursts of frustration and anger that seem to come out of nowhere. If your child is struggling to control their emotions, there are ways to help them. For children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsivity can present in many ways.

What is the number one cause of ADHD? ›

The cause(s) and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. Recent studies link genetic factors with ADHD. In addition to genetics, scientists are studying other possible causes and risk factors including: Brain injury.

What does an ADHD episode feel like? ›

Inattentiveness and difficulty concentrating may cause fatigue, especially among students and full-time employees working long days. Distractibility and poor focus can cause people with ADHD to quickly lose interest in activities or objects that once gave them pleasure as well.

What are people with ADHD good at? ›

These may include hyperfocus, resilience, creativity, conversational skills, spontaneity, and abundant energy. Many people view these benefits as “superpowers” because those with ADHD can hone them to their advantage. People with ADHD have a unique perspective that others may find interesting and valuable.

Is ADHD considered to be a disability? ›

Is ADHD considered a disability? Yes, ADHD is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). There are several types of disabilities, including but not limited to: learning disability.

Are ADHD good at math? ›

ADHD symptoms can make math more difficult. But ADHD can also increase your chances of having a co-occurring math learning disorder called dyscalculia. Statistics from the early 2000s (the most recent available) suggest that 31 percent of students with ADHD also have a math disability.

Do people with ADHD have messy houses? ›

There's a strong connection between disorganization and ADHD. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5) lists “often loses things necessary for tasks or activities” as one of the possible symptoms that can add up to a diagnosis of ADHD.

What is junebugging? ›

Junebugging is cleaning by distraction, a process by which you put some of the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, only to get distracted by the pile of the laundry that needs to go in the washing machine, which reminds you that there are a million LEGO scattered across the living room floor, which then alerts your ...

How do I motivate myself to clean with ADHD? ›

Infusing energy and playfulness into your routine is a wonderful way to get your ADHD brain moving and motivated. Just remember that trying to organize everything all at once can leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Try specific daily intentions instead.

What is the average GPA for someone with ADHD? ›

The follow-up in the multisite Multimodal Treatment of ADHD study found that adolescents (14–18 years old) with childhood ADHD had an average GPA of 2.75, which was significantly lower than the 3.0 average GPA of adolescents without childhood ADHD (Molina et al., 2009).

Do ADHD brains work faster? ›

Shankman: Simply put, ADHD is the brain's inability to produce as much dopamine, serotonin, and adrenaline as “regular” people's brains produce. Because of that, our brains have become “faster.” When managed right, that becomes a superpower. Have you found that you tend to think faster than most people? Yes.

What are the weaknesses of ADHD students? ›

ADHD can affect a student's ability to focus, pay attention, listen, or put effort into schoolwork. ADHD also can make a student fidgety, restless, talk too much, or disrupt the class. Kids with ADHD might also have learning disabilities that cause them to have problems in school.

How do you deep clean a bedroom with ADHD? ›

Use the tools and tips below to start reversing that trend and start getting your house in order.
  1. #1. Regularly Practice Decluttering. ...
  2. #2. Use Bins for Organization. ...
  3. #3. Set a Cleaning Schedule. ...
  4. #4. Have a Cleaning Chart. ...
  5. #5. ...
  6. #6. ...
  7. Get Your Home in Order with Proper Management of ADHD and House Cleaning.

Why do people with ADHD hoard? ›

Both ADHD and hoarding disorder are marked by executive function deficits that contribute to excessive clutter. These include difficulty with categorizing and decision-making, and distractibility.

How do I clean my room without being overwhelmed? ›

How to Start Cleaning if You're Overwhelmed
  1. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
  2. Spend those 20 minutes cleaning.
  3. Take a 10-minute break from cleaning.
  4. Repeat.

What is the junebugging method of cleaning? ›

This cleaning technique works the same way. When you clean by junebugging, you pick a spot you want to clean and keep bringing yourself back to that spot, no matter where you wander through the cleaning process. The key is allowing yourself to wander but always coming back to your main spot.

Are people with ADHD forgetful? ›

It's human to forget things occasionally, but for someone with ADHD, forgetfulness tends to occur more often. This can include routinely forgetting where you've put something or what important dates you need to keep. Sometimes forgetfulness can be bothersome but not to the point of causing serious disruptions.

What is hoarding vs ADHD clutter? ›

A key difference between ADHD and hoarding disorder is the reason why people have so many possessions. A person with symptoms of ADHD may be untidy or live in a cluttered home because they are unable to organise their things whereas a hoarder will have a specific reason why they can't let go of something they own.

What is a doom box ADHD? ›

A Doom Box is a special container that helps people keep track of their things. It's beneficial for people with ADHD who have trouble staying organized. You put things you don't want to lose or forget about, like your keys or school supplies, in the Doom Box, so you know where they are when you need them.

Does ADHD get worse with age? ›

In general, ADHD doesn't get worse with age. Some adults may also outgrow their symptoms.

Why do people with ADHD have bad spending habits? ›

Spontaneous spending — and financial headaches — are common among people with ADHD, who struggle with impulsive behaviors, poor planning skills, and other executive dysfunctions inherent to the condition. Impulse buying also produces that quick rush of dopamine, which ADHD brains constantly crave.

What is the wolf biter syndrome? ›

Dermatophagia or “wolf-biting”5 is another obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)-related disorder and is defined as the compulsion to bite one's own skin. Since many patients do not eat/ingest their skin but simply bite or gnaw on it, researchers have recommended using the term dermatodaxia instead of dermatophagia.

Do people with ADHD like being touched? ›

Many people with ADHD experience a physical hypersensitivity to a variety of things, including touch. Being hypersensitive may mean that stimulation of their genitals might be uncomfortable or even painful in someone with ADHD. This sensitivity may also extend to other senses as well.

What is an example of stimming with ADHD? ›

Stimming can take many different forms: visual: staring off into space, drawing, spinning things like pens or coins. verbal/auditory: repeating sounds, excessive giggling, constantly clearing throat. tactile: rubbing fingers, chewing/biting nails, chewing the inside of cheeks.

Why do people with ADHD eat fast? ›

Experts believe that people with ADHD may overeat to satisfy their brain's need for stimulation. Also, problems with executive function can make self-control and self-regulation difficult. Inattention can also be a factor. People with ADHD may not be as aware of or focused on their eating habits.

Do ADHD people snack a lot? ›

Experts believe people with ADHD may tend to overeat in an attempt to satisfy their brain's higher need for stimulation.

How do I stop oral stimming? ›

Some options include:
  1. cleaning oral stimming toys.
  2. chewing gum.
  3. keep chewy or crunchy snacks on hand.
  4. use straws in drinks.
  5. drink thick drinks, including milkshakes or smoothies.
  6. heavy work, such as push-ups or carrying groceries.
  7. whole body movement.
  8. breathing exercises.
Feb 21, 2023

How does anesthesia affect people with ADHD? ›

Exposure of the developing brain to anaesthetics may disrupt the structure and function of neural circuits downstream from the prefrontal cortex, resulting in ADHD (Table 1).

Is there a link between fluoride and ADHD? ›

A study in 2015 looked at data from two states that put fluoride in its drinking water. Researchers found that the areas with the most fluoride also had the highest number of kids with ADHD. But that doesn't mean the fluoride necessarily caused ADHD. There may be other factors that weren't studied.

How do you treat a child with ADHD in the dentist? ›

Schedule appointments in the morning or at a time of day when child is least fatigued, most attentive, and best able to remain seated in dental chair. Give short, clear instructions directly to child. Give only one instruction at a time. Use Tell-Show-Do approach when introducing new procedures.

Does ADHD have ADA limitations? ›

If a person has ADHD but it doesn't substantially limit any major life activity, then they're not going to be qualified under the ADA for any help,” she says. If you do qualify, it could mean that if you can't get work done because of noise, you might be able to ask for a private office with a door.


1. Oral Health Instructions for Special Needs Patients in a General Dental Setting, By Dr. JacobDent
(Elevate Oral Care)
2. A Guide to the Formulations & Delivery Options of ADHD Medication (w/ Laurie Dupar, PMHNP, RN, PCC)
(ADDitude Magazine)
3. ADHD and Other Behavioral Issues Could be Resolved at the Dentist
(Restore Dental)
4. ADDERALL: Doctors Guide to Side Effects
(Erik Richardson D.O.)
5. Ep #16 ADHD or dental issues with John Peterson, DDS
(ADHD Smarter Parenting)
6. ADHD Guide to Fighting Stigma: Defend Your Diagnosis & Build Self-Esteem (w/ Green, M.C., OOnt, BSc)
(ADDitude Magazine)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Corie Satterfield

Last Updated: 02/21/2023

Views: 5668

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Corie Satterfield

Birthday: 1992-08-19

Address: 850 Benjamin Bridge, Dickinsonchester, CO 68572-0542

Phone: +26813599986666

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Table tennis, Soapmaking, Flower arranging, amateur radio, Rock climbing, scrapbook, Horseback riding

Introduction: My name is Corie Satterfield, I am a fancy, perfect, spotless, quaint, fantastic, funny, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.