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Pediatr Dent. 2012 Sep-Oct;34(5):387-91.

Oral care experiences and challenges in children with autism spectrum disorders.

Author information

Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, CA, USA.



The purpose of this study was to investigate the differences between children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their typically developing peers in relation to aspects of oral care.


Participants included 396 parents of ASD children or typically developing 2- to 18-year-olds. Parents completed a 37-item questionnaire designed by authors to elicit information about oral care in the home and dental office. Descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate regression analyses were conducted to examine the association between diagnostic group and oral care variables.


Significantly more parents of ASD children than parents of typically developing children reported difficulty across almost all oral care variables explored, including oral care in the home, oral care at the dentist, and access to oral care. Following multivariate regression to control for possible confounders-including age, gender, Hispanic status, and paternal education level-all previously significant variables remained significant.


This study indicates that children with autism spectrum disorders experience greater difficulties and barriers to care in both the home and dental office settings than their typically developing peers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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