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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Oral Health 1/2015

A cross-sectional study on oral health and dental care in intellectually able adults with autism spectrum disorder

BMC Oral Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
My Blomqvist, Susanne Bejerot, Göran Dahllöf
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

MB, SB and GD designed the study. MB and SB collected the data. MB and GD were responsible for data analysis. All authors participated in the manuscript processing and approved the final version.



Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication, restricted patterns of behaviour, and unusual sensory sensitivities. The hypotheses to be tested were that adult patients with ASD have a higher caries prevalence, have more risk factors for caries development, and utilize dental health care to a lesser extent than people recruited from the normal population.


Forty-seven adults with ASD, (25 men, 22 women, mean age 33 years) and of normal intelligence and 69 age- and sex-matched typical controls completed a dental examination and questionnaires on oral health, dental hygiene, dietary habits and previous contacts with dental care.


Except for increased number of buccal gingival recessions, the oral health was comparable in adults with ASD and the control group. The group with ASD had less snacking, but also less frequent brushing of teeth in the mornings. The stimulated saliva secretion was lower in the ASD group, regardless of medication. Frequencies of dental care contacts were equal in both groups. The most common reason for missing a dental appointment was forgetfulness in the ASD group.


Adults with ASD exhibited more gingival recessions and considerably lower saliva flow compared to healthy controls. Despite equal caries prevalence, the risk for reduced oral health due to decreased salivary flow should be taken into consideration when planning dental care for patients with ASD. Written reminders of dental appointments and written and verbal report on oral health status and oral hygiene instructions are recommended.
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