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Open AccessArticle

Oral Health Status of Children with Autism in Central Italy

Department of Oral and Maxillo-Facial Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, 00161 Rome, Italy
Department of Mathematics, University of Alicante, 03690 Alicante, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(7), 2247;
Received: 7 February 2020 / Revised: 18 March 2020 / Accepted: 20 March 2020 / Published: 26 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Sciences in Oral Pathology)
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have significantly higher prevalence and caries severity compared to the average population. Knowledge about the oral health indices of children with this mental disorder is key to designing efficient plans of intervention. This paper reports the results of a study on the oral health status of children with ASD in central Italy. This is the first study of this type in Italy. The sample consists of 229 autistic children aged between 5 and 14 years, attending the Unit of Special Needs Policlinico Umberto I in Rome. Each patient received an intraoral examination to investigate decayed, missing, and filled teeth as well as periodontal status. Information on demographic attributes, dietary habits, medical history, and child’s cooperativeness at the first visit was also recorded. Of the participants, 79.26% presented signs of gingivitis and about 90% of them had plaque. Caries prevalence was 66.38%. The average of the total number of decayed, missing, and filled teeth in the permanent and primary dentition was 2.91. Among the factors considered, only dietary habits and the periodontal indices showed statistically significant association with caries prevalence and caries severity. Despite the selection bias, that prevents us to interpret the results presented as epidemiological evidence, our study suggests that children with ASD in central Italy represent a population at risk.
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; caries prevalence; oral prevention; special need patients autism spectrum disorder; caries prevalence; oral prevention; special need patients
MDPI and ACS Style

Bossù, M.; Trottini, M.; Corridore, D.; Di Giorgio, G.; Sfasciotti, G.L.; Palaia, G.; Ottolenghi, L.; Polimeni, A.; Di Carlo, S. Oral Health Status of Children with Autism in Central Italy. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 2247.

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