Abstract: Aim The aim of the present study was to comparatively evaluate the oral health status and influential factors, brushing, developmental and orthodontic disorders, bruxism, drug intake, sweet eating habits, sociodemographic factors and lifestyles of autistic and healthy children. Participants in this study were greater in number compared to the previous studies investigating the same phenomenon. Furthermore, it was a more comprehensive study than other studies in the literature in terms of number of variables included.
Methods The study was carried out with a total of 407 participants, 285 autistic (test group) and 122 healthy children (control group). The ages ranged from 5 to 16. A total of 407 children were examined. DMFT, dmft, plaque index, dental trauma, oral symptoms, developmental and orthodontic disorders of these children were recorded. Participants were also asked to fill a two-part questionnaire. The first part included questions related to the childís and parentsí demographics such as the childís age, gender, number of siblings, the motherís and fatherís age, education, occupation and income. The second part included questions related to systemic diseases, drug intake, the dental history of children and their parents, brushing and nutrition habits.
Results The results from the inferential statistics showed that both DMFT and dmft indices values of the autistic children were lower than those of the healthy children. Caries prevalence of the autistic children was lower compared to the control group. There was also no difference in the plaque index values between the two groups. Drooling of saliva of the autistic children was higher than that of the healthy children. The results showed statistically significant differences between the two groups regarding bruxism, deep-palate and tongue thrusting, though no statistically significant differences were found between the two groups regarding open bite. However, significant differences were observed in terms of dental crowding between the two groups in that the healthy children had more dental crowding than the autistic children.
Conclusion One of the main findings of the study was observed in relation to caries prevalence in that autistics had lower caries prevalence values than controls. Another main finding was that no statistically significant differences were found in terms of plaque index values when the groups were compared. When the findings related to deep palate, open bite and dental crowding were examined, it was seen that deep palate was higher but dental crowding was lower in the autistic children. However, in this study there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in terms of open bite.