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Pediatr Dent. 2010 Jan-Feb;32(1):69-75.

Caries-risk assessment and caries status of children with autism.

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Pediatric dentist in private practice, Tucson, Ariz., USA.



This paper's purpose was to describe the caries status of children with autism and explore associations with the Caries-risk Assessment Tool promoted by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.


Data was collected from children with autism, their parents, and dentists using interviews, surveys, and treatment records. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analysis explored the association of new caries activity and caries experience with oral health measures.


Subjects were 75 males and 24 females with a mean age (+/-SD) of 9.7 years (+/-3.7), (range=2.7 to 19 years). Children < or =7 years old had more new caries (60%) than older children (34%; P=.05). Although not statistically significant, all children who brushed less than once per day had new caries and a mean t-DMF-T (def + DMF) of 73. Children with poor oral hygiene had more new caries (59%) than those with good/excellent hygiene (28%; P=.06). Caries status was not associated with gender, socioeconomic status, medical history, appointment type, dental home, food rewards, restricted diets, and some hygiene habits.


This study confirms the validity of considering autism as an indicator of high caries risk. Oral hygiene may be the most influential risk indicator associated with new caries in children with autism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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