Spec Care Dentist 31(3): 102-110, 2011
Oral care and sensory sensitivities in children with autism spectrum disorders
Article first published online: 18 MAY 2011
©2011 Special Care Dentistry Association and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Special Care in Dentistry
Volume 31, Issue 3, pages 102–110, May/June 2011
How to Cite
Stein, L. I., Polido, J. C., Mailloux, Z., Coleman, G. G. and Cermak, S. A. (2011), Oral care and sensory sensitivities in children with autism spectrum disorders. Special Care in Dentistry, 31: 102–110. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-4505.2011.00187.x
- Issue published online: 18 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 18 MAY 2011
- sensory processing;
- dental care;
- behavior difficulties;
- sensory integration;
- occupational therapy
Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are at high risk for oral disease. The aim of this study was to examine the contribution of sensory processing problems to challenges in receiving oral care for children with ASD.
A questionnaire was sent to the parents of 206 children with disabilities to test the hypotheses that children with ASD, relative to children with other disabilities, experience greater difficulty with home-based and professional oral care, and that these difficulties may relate in part to sensory processing problems. The results partially supported these hypotheses. Compared to children with other disabilities, those with ASD had greater behavioral difficulties and sensory sensitivities that parents believed interfered with their child’s oral care. Among children with ASD, sensory sensitivities were associated with oral care difficulties in the home and dental office, and with behavioral difficulties in the dental office. Utilizing strategies to modify the sensory environment may help facilitate oral care in children with ASD.