A new guide has been published by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) in support of parents of children with autism.
The guide covers all aspects of children’s dental health from introducing the child to toothbrushing at home to preparing for dental appointments.
There is evidence to suggest that some parents of children with autism are hesitant about taking their child to the dentist for the first time. This can be for a number of reasons, but many are anxious about how their child will react to the new situation.
The aim of the guide is to provide practical advice to help parents get their child off to a good start with their dental hygiene and make the first visit to the dentist a positive experience. The BSPD encourages all parents and carers to ensure that children have their first dental check by the age of one. A sample questionnaire for parents to fill in and take to their child’s first appointment is also provided on the BSPD website.
Wendy Bellis, a leading authority on the management and treatment of children with autism and a BSPD member, wrote the content, which also benefited from the input of The National Autistic Society (NAS).
Claire Stevens, spokeswoman for the BSPD, said: ‘Tooth decay is nearly always preventable. By getting things right as early as possible you may be able to avoid your child needing dental treatment. This is particularly important for children with autism because they may find treatment more challenging.’
She added: ‘We are very grateful to Wendy and also to the NAS for their expertise and input. We hope the new guide will help minimise the risk of dental decay in children with autism and support their parents in the management of this important aspect of their child’s health and wellbeing.’