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Oral aversion / Oral hypersensitivity

Oral aversion or Oral hypersensitivity is a genetic hyper reactivity of the taste and smell organs, affecting 25% of children with normal development.

Forms are multiple: the child's reaction may range from a simple disgust for a certain type of food to a severe one that may make think of anorexia.

While scientists have admitted a psychological origin to these disorders, new knowledge in physiology show us that this is actually a hyper excitability. We can summarize it this way: although normal sensitivity is a factor of appetite, exacerbated sensitivity will have the opposite effect.

When to worry?

  • When there is no oral exploration at a young age (0-24 months)
  • When difficulties in introducing the first foods (mashed vegetables) are noted and persist for more than 8 months.
  • Difficulties in introducing regular food at 12 months.
  • When the child only accepts smooth mashed vegetables at 16 months.
  • When frequent gagging or vomiting is present while contact with food and the child refuses to eat afterwards.
  • When the child's food list has less than 20 different foods and does not cover the four food groups from 18 months
  • When the child has no pleasure eating, or crying or attempting to withdraw from the meal or the breastfeeding.
  • When the child exhibits dislikes and avoidance to certain textures or foods
  • When the child does not cover his nutritional needs and loses weight.

What to do?

If you suspect an oral aversion / hypersensitivity, it is crucial to pursue early intervention and seek out a professional opinion to assess if there are associated medical implications. In Dubai, you can contact a pediatrician, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist and/or a nutritionist.

At CEMEDIPP, the speech and language therapy treatment is possible through a process of habituation in the form of intra-oral massages and parental guidance techniques.

Parents can adapt the nipple, adapt the toothbrush, propose vibrating instruments and other techniques that the therapist will help them implement.