Parental attitudes and experiences of dental care in children and adolescents with ADHD--a questionnaire study

Swed Dent J. 2014;38(2):93-100.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common psychiatric condition characterized by age-inappropriate levels of inattention, hyperactivity-impulsiveness or a combination of these. The aim of this study was to analyze parental attitudes to and experience of dental care, oral hygiene and dietary habits in children/adolescents with ADHD. Twenty- six parents of 31 subjects, 20 boys and 11 girls, aged 5-19 years with ADHD registered at the Gothenburg Child Neuropsychiatric Clinic, were invited. The parents answered a questionnaire regarding different oral problems when visiting the Clinic of Pediatric Dentistry, Gothenburg, for an oral examination of their child. The parents felt the dental care at the Public Dental Service was good, but noted a lack of knowledge regarding child neuropsychiatry among the dental staff which may influence the dental treatment. Fifteen parents reported their children had experienced mouth pain and 15 reported their child had suffered from both discomfort and pain from local anesthesia. Thirteen of the children had a dental trauma and 12 parents reported pain in connection to the dental treatment. Pain related to filling therapy was stated by 11 parents. According to the parents, five children suffered from dental fear but 15 reported the child had a general fear. Pursuant to the parents, the beverage for dinner was mainly milk or water, while sweet drinks were more frequent when thirsty. Seventeen parents reported their children had poor oral hygiene or could not manage to brush their teeth and 14 of the 31 children only brushed once a day or less. The results show that the parents experience a lack of child neuropsychiatric knowledge, care and patience from the dental staff, which may influence the treatment. Oral hygiene/tooth brushing is neglected and the frequent consumption of sugar is difficult for the parents to handle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anesthesia, Local / adverse effects
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / psychology
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Beverages
  • Cariostatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Anxiety / psychology
  • Dental Care for Children* / adverse effects
  • Dental Care for Disabled* / adverse effects
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / adverse effects
  • Dentist-Patient Relations
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Facial Pain / etiology
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Fluorides / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oral Health
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tooth Injuries / etiology
  • Toothbrushing / psychology
  • Toothpastes / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult


  • Cariostatic Agents
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Toothpastes
  • Fluorides