Most of us know the basic facts about autism. Children generally start exhibiting symptoms of the neurological development disorder before age three; autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can affect learning and cognitive skills, communication skills, and social interactions, and just about half (30 to 50%) of Americans with autism also experience seizures. Very few people realize, however, that autism can also cause some other difficulties, such as poor dental health. How does autism affect dental and oral health, and what can parents do about it?
How Autism Can Harm Children's Teeth
Why are teeth protection tips and teeth grinding protection a concern for parents and/or caregivers of autistic children? For one, it can be difficult to develop fine motor skills, like the ones people use to brush and floss their teeth. Of course, parents can help whenever possible -- and do their best to establish a solid routine, to encourage regular brushing and good dental habits. Moreover, children with autism may experience involuntary movements, which can include dangerously grinding their teeth.
Here's What Parents Can Do
As with any problems that may come up for autistic children the big question is: what can parents do? In this case, there are several ways parents can help. First and foremost, parents can do whatever they can to create a quite and calm environment for their child. Keeping children calm and relaxed will help control and limit stress-induced behaviors, like tooth grinding. Parents can also purchase toys and sensory products to help children experience tooth grinding constructively -- and to get it out of their system. Chewy tubes and chewy toys are great gifts for autistic children; they help kids engage in the behavior safely, without doing permanent harm to their teeth.
Some of the best gifts for autistic children are also the most useful. Parents can help autistic kids prone to chewing and tooth grinding by keeping them as calm as possible and by purchasing soft toys, like chewy toys, to protect teeth as necessary.