Objective: to assess the dental status of young children with Autistic Syndrome Disorder (ASD) in order to allow better understanding of the dentist's role in treating these children. Study design: The ASD group consisted of 47 children diagnosed as ASD from three special kindergartens from three towns in Israel. The control group was 44 normally developed children from 4 kindergartens from 2 neighboring towns. Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire requesting the following: socio-demographic information, general medical condition, dental information (previous visit to a dentist, feeding habits, oral hygiene behavior, oral habits and the Vinland Adaptive Behavioral Scales (VABS). Results: While in the control group there was no report of no brushing at all, among the ASD children 25% did not brush at all. Use of pacifier, fussy eating and eating problems were significantly more prevalent among the ASD group. In addition, the ASD children significantly preferred more salty, spicy and sweet foods than the control. There were more cariesfree children among the ASD group. In the ASD group, the ability to perform everyday life functions was slightly more than half of what is expected for age. Conclusions: autistic children have a relative age of one half, meaning they function at half the level of normally developed children at their chronological age, more eating problems and more persistent oral habits yet no correlation to dental health could be shown. Caries experience of autistic children was lower than in the control group, maintaining good oral hygiene is difficult for autistic children yet their gingival health was found to be good.

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