Like hair cutting, brushing teeth is a very sensory filled experience that many children with Autism struggle with. The feel, the sound, the taste, the restriction, etc can be very difficult.
Unlike haircuts, brushing teeth doesn’t go very well. It may be the most dreaded part of our day….every day. We brush teeth once a day because we simply cannot bear to hold him down more often than that. We purchased an electric toothbrush hoping that would help. Not really. We purchased a three sided toothbrush (plastic bristle and Smile Frida soft bristle) which doesn’t really help, but at least cuts the time down.
We have found the less we restrict his face the better it goes. One method is to have him on the potty, be on his right side, but our left arm around him holding his left hand/arm and letting his head rest on my left shoulder. That way, when his head goes back it is resting on my vs hitting the back of the toilet. I then brush as quick as I can with my right hand. Giving him “good job!” “you’re doing it!” and such while going.
If he is having a particularly hard time or its been a while since we could get a GOOD brushing, I sit on the floor with my back against a wall/the tub. I then have him lay his head on my lap feet facing away from me. I take my legs and I hold down his arms while talking as calmly as possible and soothing with my left hand while brushing with my right.
It gets him all worked up, he hates it, we hate it and it sucks but we cannot even fathom him at the dentist yet so this is better than a cavity! So sad that something in his daily life is so hard on him!