Having autism does not mean that a child’s teeth and other facial features will be different. Children with autism are likely to suffer many more oral health problems, including tooth decay, gum disease and dental injury, than children without autism. They are likely to develop these problems for a number of reasons such as unusual oral habits, medications and poor food choices.
They may engage in difficult behaviors which can also contribute to oral problems. These behaviors include head banging, picking at their lips, removing their tooth buds and chewing on harmful objects like stones and other hard surfaces. These children also prefer soft foods which they tend to pouch at the back of their mouths for long periods of time leading to tooth decay.
Many autistic kids have sensory sensitivities that make it difficult to maintain an effective oral hygiene routine. These issues may also make visits to the dentist challenging.
Parents and caregivers can do several things to make oral hygiene and dental visits easier for their autistic children. Implementing behavioral techniques and positive reinforcements, using autism-friendly dental products, and seeking out dental professionals with specialized knowledge can help your child with autism maintain good oral health.
Read this article for more information on oral hygiene for autistic children and tips on how to help them.