Access to Dental Visits and Correlates of Preventive Dental Care in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2020 Oct;50(10):3739-3747. doi: 10.1007/s10803-020-04420-8.


Dental care received by children in the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) was compared to National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) data for children without special healthcare needs and children with parent-reported ASD. Correlates of obtained preventive dental services were examined within the ATN sample. Participants included 375 families of children ages 4 to 17 enrolled in the ATN. ATN families reported levels of preventive dental care that were similar to, or exceeded, NSCH-reported care. However, disparities in obtained preventive dental services emerged within the ATN sample. Lower intellectual functioning was the most consistent correlate of reduced access to and completion of preventive dental care. Implications for developing system-wide supports and targeted interventions are discussed.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD); Dental care; Intellectual functioning; Preventive care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dental Care / methods*
  • Dental Care / trends
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Services Accessibility* / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States / epidemiology