Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Oral Defensiveness

Another type of sensory issue is oral defensiveness. The common symptoms of a child with oral defensiveness include:

  • Picky eater…avoids certain textures, temperatures, or flavors of food 
  • Gags easily or gags with certain food textures or smells
  • Difficulty sucking, chewing, or swallowing 
  • Chokes easily 
  • Avoids/dislikes toothbrushing or facewashing
  • Dislikes going to the dentist 
  • Avoids/dislikes getting hands or face messy  
  • Inappropriate tasting or mouthing of non-food items
Activities to address oral defensiveness:

  • Use pretend shaving cream or whipped cream and let your child pretend to “shave” or put on make-up using a popsicle stick  
  • Use soap crayons or face paints to paint your child’s face. Avoid the eye area and always test for allergies first.  
  • Blowing bubbles or whistles  
  • Rubbing the face, around the mouth, with cloths of different textures of fabrics (like satin, velvet, etc.).  
  • Have your child name and touch the various parts of his or her face while looking in the mirror 
  • Imitate different tongue and lip movements, and/or speech sounds. You can exaggerate the movements for demonstration
  • Make a “bubble” face by closing your lips tightly and puffing your cheeks out with air and pop the “bubble” by poking your cheeks with your hands.  
  • Before eating or drinking, use your own hands or a soft cloth to gently tap or pat around your child’s mouth  
  • Introduce one food item at a time  
  • Provide as much positive reinforcement during mealtime as possible...stickers, songs, etc.
  • Use a soft toothbrush to gently brush across the tongue and the sides of the mouth  
  • Use a vibrating toothbrush – let your child hold it and bring it up to their face rather than you doing it. 


  1. I'm not sure if this is where you leave the comment about the CD, but the CD sounds wonderful for my little girl. We use music a lot when she gets upset to help her calm down. It's amazing how she can be so distraught over something and as soon as the music comes on she begins calming down. She goes to bed every night with a CD, it's part of her routine. We enjoy dancing to several different types of music and make noises along with the instruments to try and encourage her to vocalize along with the sounds. My daughter turned 2 in January and currently has undiagnosed Global Delay. She has been in the EI program since 7 months old and has PT, OT, and ST once a week. She is currently not walking and is non-verbal. A two year old who can't walk or talk gets pretty frustrated as she is still coping with the "terrible two's" so we use music a lot to help her out.

  2. Great Information, I was told my son has this by his pediatrician just a couple of days ago, we went and sought help as we had concerns in the long run since he would gag and vomit at the sight of new foods and would not even touch new foods. I learned that color has a big role in this sensory syndrome as well and after this was explained it has become even more apparent. He has had 3 new foods added in the past 3 days, I have done ABA therapy and a variety of work with children and adults with dual diagnosis and this seems to be working well so far but to soon to say. I look foward to connecting and seeing if there is any more information you can help with, Thanks for the site : )

  3. We found that color includes a large part with this physical affliction too and now had been described it's turn out website to be much more obvious.

  4. I actually appeared to be shared with this youngster includes the following visit the site just a few a short time past, most people moved plus needed enable once we obtained fears in time considering he would gag plus vomit along at the experience with innovative foodstuff plus will not sometimes touching innovative foodstuff.

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