Your Oral Health Connection
Autism and Oral Health
The month of April is Autism Awareness Month. Most people are not aware of the direct correlation between oral health and Autism. Autism is a developmental disability that appears within the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It affects every individual differently and to various degrees.
Oral Health in Autism
People with Autism have rare and unusual oral health conditions. Medications and habits can cause issues. There is an increased risk of bruxism (teeth grinding). Individuals with autism often pick at the flesh in their mouth, causing ulcerations of the gums. Some individuals have been noted to regurgitate and erode their enamel, making their teeth more susceptible to cavities. The most common challenges in providing oral care are communication and behavioral problems.
Please Note: We are not recommending or offering treatment to individuals with Autism. We recommend that you reach out to your healthcare and dental professional before starting any new techniques or strategies.
Here are some tips that may assist you in developing and creating a positive experience when it comes to oral health and an individual with Autism:
- Always assist your child when brushing their teeth every day and at least twice a day
- Give lots of praise while brushing your child’s teeth
- Children who are taking medications should brush after each dosage as most of those medications contain sugar which will increase the potential of getting cavities
For a child who may be new to a dental experience, here are some tips that may help make it a fun, smooth experience:
- Tell your child where they are going. Get them excited about the experience
- Inform the dentist of your child and thoroughly explain their needs
- If needed, ask your doctor to talk to your child throughout the appointment
- Try to keep the appointments short
- Praise the positive behavior and ignore the negative