Autism and Dental Treatment

Autism and Pediatric Dentistry


Dental issues are more than significant for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.  Simple treatments such as cleanings, x-rays, and fillings are likely to require sedation or general anesthesia.  Dental Prevention is  more than just a simple  daily task for these families. Dental providers whom understand special needs issues are few and far between.  Below are  4  facts parents of autistic children should know about dental Health.


Brush  your child’s teeth!  There will be days when it will be a battle or seem like world war III.  At times you may feel like you should shut the blinds so your neighbors  do not see or hear the battle.  You may wonder if they think you may be abusing your child.  A crying  child resisting tooth brushing is a child with a wide open airway and a great heartbeat!  You cannot hurt a child with a toothbrush. When your child poops, you wipe their bottom because to not clean them would be disgusting and inhumane.  When they eat, you should brush their teeth as it is just the other end of the same digestive tract.  Not brushing the teeth is just like not wiping their bottom after a poop!  


Feed your child a balanced diet of real food.  Children need real food not processed crap.  Children need lean sources of protein such as meats, fish, and chicken.  Children also need vegetables that are prepared in a healthy manor.  Our modern society has us so busy, working so efficient and hard, that we often do not take the time to make sure the fuel we put into our bodies is making us more healthy and giving us more energy.  Fast food is like death in a bag or box.  Processed crap is full of chemicals and super high levels of sugars that cause cavities.  We need to change our definition of good food to  what is described above.  Bad food addiction is a serious problem.  Obesity adds to the  risk a child will have issues with  dental cavities.  Obesity makes sedation or general anesthesia more risky.  Know how many calories your child should consume on a daily basis and learn to cook flavor filled foods that meet that requirement.  Overweight autistic kids are a result of poor parenting.


Make sure your child drinks water.  Water is required to make all of the systems of our bodies function well.  If you look under the sink where you store your household cleaners, you will find that a majority of those cleaners have a common component; water.  Water is what makes up most cleaners, and they have a small amount of a chemical added to them.  Water dilutes acids and cleans the mouth.  One of the best analogies is to look at where water flows fast over a waterfall.  The rocks are smooth and clean.  Where water flows slow, the rocks are covered with algae and dirt.  The mouth and the teeth are very similar.  Have your child drink several glasses of water a day.  Water dilutes the acids, washes away the sugars, and dissolves most things in the mouth.  Drinking water is correlated with improved dental and medical health.


Establish a dental home with an American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Specialty Board certified pediatric dentist.  Children should have a dental home established within 6 months of  the eruption of the first tooth.   Why so earl?  Because prevention is much safer and cheaper than treatment.    If your child was to have a trauma from learning to pull up, stand up. or walk, it would be better to take them to the office of your regular provider than to have to take them to the ER.   The local ER is going to be full of sick people, likely to have long waits for minor dental trauma, and may not even have a pediatric dentist willing to come in and treat your child.  The popular catch phrase is “anticipatory guidance”  this means letting you know what is going to happen next and what specific prevention program your child requires.  When you have a quality provider or group of providers , these issues can be put to rest.


Prevention is the key for autistic children.  Parents must understand they are 100% responsible for regular tooth brushing and flossing.  Parents need to make the decision to seek preventive care that meets the needs of their child.  This may include cleanings more than 2 times a year, and parents may have to pay out of pocket for the extra preventive care.   A dental home must be established which is integrated into your local medical system to reduce sedation by combining procedures with other medical specialties.  In summary, Autistic spectrum disorders make relatively simple dental treatments much more complex.  Prevention is the key to success.