Oral Techniques and Oral Motor Tools
It is recommended to consult with your child’s OT/COTA before starting any of the below protocols.
Wilbarger Oral Tactile Techniques (OTT): This is one of the most powerful techniques for children with oral defensiveness. If your child is adverse to new foods because of their texture you may want to try this. If a therapist you can use a non-latex glove or finger cots for contamination purposes. If the child likes the bite demonstrate to the child on a puppet and be very cautious. I would recommend the Z-Vibe as a tool to combine with the protocol for oral exploration, high intensity vibrating input and focus/attention.
Insert index finger into midline of roof of mouth, use contact pressure (skin to skin, light pressure). Move index finger laterally on roof of mouth to the side of teeth, ½ swipe. Then complete 3 full swipes across roof of mouth from one side to the other. Then remove finger from child’s roof of mouth at midline. Use index and middle fingers to complete 2 quick downward compressions on lower teeth. Repeat. Should be done immediately before each meal and snack, between meals, and before teeth are brushed. (6-7X/day)
Finger Laps Around Gum Massage – This technique is mainly used for children that avoid tooth brushing due to highly sensitive gums. By applying deep pressure it may help your child modulate/regulate their sensitive gums and be more readily for teeth brushing. I would recommend 2 finger brushes one for you and your child to do at the same time.
Insert index finger at midline of upper gum (between 2 front teeth), use firm pressure along gum line above teeth. Make three complete ‘laps’ around mouth, moving slowly (count about one tooth per second) from the center to one side all the way to the back, down to the lower gums and back to the center beginning point (that’s one lap).
Moller Nuk Brush Chomps – If your child grinds or clenches their teeth during the day or while sleeping due to possible high anxiety or overly excited arousal state this can be a great technique to use. With increased intent and force, chomp on the end of a toothbrush or Nuk brush with molars 10 times on the right and 10 times on the left.
Written By: Alexander Lopiccolo, COTA/L