10.2298/SARH171204015R

Oral health difficulties in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: Parental perception

Abstract

Introduction/Objective. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by features that have the potential to make oral hygiene and dental appointments challenging. The aim of this study was to investigate difficulties related to oral hygiene and dental appointments that may be encountered in children and adolescents with ASD, in comparison to their typically developing peers. Methods. A 48-item questionnaire was prepared for the purpose of the study and distributed to parents of children and adolescents with ASD in three specialized daycare centers, as well as to parents of typically developing children and adolescents at the Clinic for Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry in Belgrade, Serbia. Ninety-two questionnaires were considered and statistically analyzed in the SPSS program, using χ2 and Mann–Whitney U-test. Results. The following statistically significant differences were found between children and adolescents with ASD and their typically developing peers: general difficulties in everyday oral hygiene, need of help for basic oral hygiene tasks, tooth brushing frequency, sensory difficulties related to toothbrush and toothpaste, level of anxiety prior to dental appointment, cooperation during appointment, sensory difficulties related to touch, operatory light and sound of dental unit, number of treatments under general anesthesia, and the number of refused dental treatments. Conclusion. Children and adolescents with ASD face significantly more difficulties concerning everyday oral hygiene and dental appointments in comparison to their typically developing peers. Dentists’ awareness of issues that are specific to this population of patients is important in order to enable quality dental care

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oai:doaj.org/article:3fcd77eccfe94254a81f5bda50d312d5Last time updated on 6/4/2019

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