Medical and Dental Implications of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review
Kowash, Mawlood B.
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Abstract: Globally 1 in every 68 child is diagnosed with Autism. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Autism is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders, affecting the normal development and functioning of the brain in three core domains; reciprocal social interactions, verbal and non-verbal communication and the presence of restricted or repetitive behaviors. Typically it appears in the first three years of life and affects males four times more than females but females are more likely to show more signs of mental retardation. Other medical problems can co-exist along with Autism such as psychiatric illnesses, epilepsy; sleep disturbances, feeding problems, gastrointestinal problems and voiding problems. Autism cannot be cured, but the earlier the intervention the better the results. Medications, therapies and behavioral interventions can only alleviate Autism related symptoms and cause substantial improvement. Autism characteristics can have an impact on three different perspectives of dental care, which are oral care at home, oral care at the dentist and access to oral care. This paper aims to review and discuss the literature on the general and oral characteristics of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in order to help the dental practitioners as well as the medical professionals in providing them with better oral and health services.