Oral Care Challenges for Children with Autism

A Smiling ChildAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects 1 in every 68 children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It also occurs among all races as well as gender, although it is more common among boys than girls. Further, doctors may diagnose the condition as early as two years old.

Autism is not uncommon as people think. In fact, it remains to be one of the most studied disorders in the world. However, many still don’t know a lot about it including how it affects oral health.

Proper Oral Health

Oral health care and needs differ from one person to another, and people with autism have special challenges. These include the following:


Pica is the habit of eating non-food items. Many children with autism develop this behavior for a couple of theories. They either need stimulation or they're anxious. Whichever the reason, it’s dangerous and can affect oral health negatively in many ways.

Solid objects can lead to chipping or cracking of the teeth. The child may introduce certain bacteria into the mouth that can increase the appearance of caries (tooth cavities) or the risk of periodontal disease.

Unusual Behaviors

Children with autism are usually prone to frustration. They may quickly throw a tantrum, jerk, or move about while in the middle of an oral care like brushing. These disruptions may prevent them from getting adequate oral health support, which can introduce or worsen teeth and gum problems.

Finding a Dentist

Due to their unique oral health challenges, parents should avoid picking dentists randomly. If you live in New Albany, for instance, find a dentist who specializes in children with special needs. They should provide a safe, comfortable environment that will help children with autism feel relaxed and cooperative. They should also provide you with effective tips, so you can practice good oral care at home. 

Simply because it's challenging, doesn't mean you have to give up. Remember that this is your child's oral health care we're talking about. Make that extra effort for their sake.