Call Give us a Call Request Request Appointment Forms Download Our Forms Like Us Like us on Facebook Map View our Map Pay
Pay Now
Pay Now

Can Autism Impact Your Child’s Dental Health?

April 20, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — riverplace @ 4:02 pm
a parent smiling at their child while they brush their teeth

According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more children are being diagnosed on the autism spectrum than ever before, an estimated one out of every 36 to be more precise. This is largely in part due to more parents and children becoming aware of signs that they could be on the spectrum, allowing families to access necessary resources to improve their child’s health and accessibility to spaces like the dentist’s office.

Autism can impact a wide range of areas in your child’s life, one of which is their dental health, and with the right understanding of their risks, you can help them maintain a healthy and happy smile. Read on to learn more about the connection between oral healthcare and autism and what you can do as a parent to preserve your favorite grin.

Common Dental Problems That Can Impact Children with Autism

While autism isn’t directly connected to poor oral hygiene, it can put your child at a higher risk of developing certain common problems. Some of these include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Early gum disease
  • Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism
  • Dental emergency situations

Depending on your child, they may find it difficult to communicate their oral pain with you, which can lead to higher chances of a small oral health problem, like a cavity, developing into something more serious, like a tooth infection. Because of this, routine checkups and cleanings are especially important to help spot these signs and treat them as soon as possible.

5 Tips to Improve Your Child’s Dental Health

Every child is different, so you may only find one or two of these dental health tips to be relevant in your little one’s situation! With the right children’s dentist, they can help create a comfortable environment for your child by understanding their preferences and building a good relationship with them. Here are some additional tips to encourage positive dental hygiene habits with your child:

  1. A Toothbrush That Feels Right: For children that have less heightened sensory sensitivities, an electric toothbrush may work perfectly at home. For those that tend to avoid loud noises or vibrations, a more neutral-tasting toothpaste and manual toothbrush may be the better option.
  2. Motor Planning & Practice: To tune-up your child’s motor skills and help them develop better control while brushing and flossing, try having them use resistance bands or stress balls to help them strengthen their hand and finger muscles.
  3. Good Role Modelling: If your child is more likely to stop brushing before their two minutes is up, try brushing alongside them so they can get in the habit of brushing their teeth for the proper amount of time.
  4. An Attentive & Flexible Family Dentist: Choosing a family dentist that they can create a long-lasting relationship with can encourage them to continue visiting their dentist regularly into adulthood with less hesitation. Plus, once their dentist knows how to create the most comfortable environment for them, their experiences can be more consistent!
  5. Tackle Overstimulation: If overstimulation is a huge barrier to going to the dentist, try getting your child noise canceling headphones, stress balls, or other ways to refocus their attention while they’re having their teeth cleaned or even brushing at home.

About the Author

Dr. Megan McInnis is happy to treat patients of all ages and is a proud, active member of several professional organizations, including the Oregon Dental Association and American Dental Association. She offers a wide range of dental treatments including sedation, for those who may feel overwhelmed, anxious, or fearful of the dentist. For questions or to schedule an appointment, visit RiverPlace Dental’s website or call 503-761-1414.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.