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Autism Bites

4B4F060D-8211-46D3-A2E5-C8D93BDC7516Below is a Facebook status from an autism Mom I've known for many years. Her daughter lives in a residential home and her dental health has plummeted. You might have noticed over the years that many adults with special needs are missing teeth. It's easier to let them rot, and then extract them. However, there is no money for dental implants. My own daughter had a tooth extracted during a hospital based routine filling. I wanted to STRANGLE the dentist with unwaxed floss. He was so blase about it. My father was an orthodontist who practiced dentistry early in his 40 year career.  (Those are my baby teeth in the photo.) Teeth are important to me - and gum and tooth health is very important to overall health. Adult issues in autism revolve around basic healthcare and necessities. Poorly paid and poorly trained staff can blow off hygiene and no one is accountable. And even professionals, like the hygienist mentioned below can be disconnected from usable strategies. Until we all start demanding BETTER.

My bite is much worse than my bark.


Feeling very emotional.

Spent several hours this morning advocating for appropriate dental care for my 29 y/o daughter. I know that many of my fellow Warrior Mamas will be able to relate. Had multiple conversations with her dentist, nurse and dental hygienist. Two were very professional and helpful and one was not. She (the hygienist) suggested in a judgmental manner that I drive back and forth to my daughter’s home twice a day every day. Not only is that impractical; but, it would take 14 hours of time per week. I already brush XYZ’s teeth when I see her on Saturdays. She needs a professional cleaning due to severe tartar and plaque buildup along the gum line. The hygienist tried to tell me that this is normal! Part of the problem during the pandemic was a supply chain issue with the ketamine that Emily needs for sedation and the availability of her doctor to administer it.  Sadly, there are 50 individuals awaiting this kind of care and the dentist only performs these procedures on Friday afternoons.



Dental hygiene is also an issue for adults with Alzheimer's.
Tooth decay can lead to many other complications. It is an important issue in maintaining general health.

Here's a new category for dental issues:
"Mask mouth describes the variety of oral side effects from wearing a mask for an extended time. Mask mouth might include dry mouth, bad breath, tooth decay, and even gum disease. Dental professionals attribute these side effects to a few factors:

Disrupted breathing patterns. A study conducted by PNMedical shows how wearing a mask can impact your breathing, causing more rapid, shallow breaths using your mouth, chest, and neck instead of your diaphragm. Breathing out of your mouth decreases the amount of saliva, which plays an important role in your oral health — washing away food debris and defending your teeth from cavities.
Dehydration. Wearing a mask also causes you to drink less water than usual. Dehydration can lead to dry mouth, increasing your risk of tooth decay and bad breath.
Recycling air. When you wear a mask, you trap more carbon dioxide in your mouth than usual, according to Aerosol and Air Quality Research. This amount of carbon dioxide does not have a toxicological effect on your body. However, it can increase your oral microbiome's acidity, which might put you at risk for infections or inflammatory conditions like gum disease."


Dental and oral issues themselves can be a symptom or consequence of autoimmune disorders like Crohn's disease multiple sclerosis and uncommon not rare cancer predisposition genetic diseases like the one I have Neuro-fibromatosis or Tuberous Sclerosis. Both types of these conditions are common in those with autism and Intellectual Disabilities. Many of these conditions are not diagnosed despite clear evidence the person has them in the ID/DD community.
If you live in California there are dentist that can offer benzodiazepines and general anasthesia to make dental treatment easier for you or your child. These treatments are covered by Regional Center funding and Denti-Cal insurance.


Grinding their teeth while sleeping at night really gets those teeth all pulled out and gone.
My daughter lost four teeth in her late 20s. She had such pretty teeth too.
It also causes achy jaws in the morning and headaches.

I know what you mean about a mother being so upset over those teeth.
I was so very upset, but I could not show how bad I really felt about it, cause you got to be strong for them.

Angus Files

No fillings in my sons mouth thanks to his Mums cleaning every night and day sometimes.I think as well that if you live in an acidic water area and the babies are born drinking the acidic water it can cause ongoing tooth decay-only my observation no links to back it up.

Pharma For Priosn



Extremely good point, Bill, about the many times when a dental problem is a sign of a significant non-dental issue. From regular dental hygiene in adult care facilities to full exams for all patients, regardless of how clearly the patient can advocate for herself, dental care for non-neurotypical individuals is a major shortcoming of health care in America. I've personally seen it in the case of a post-stroke woman dependent on aides for personal hygiene, and I suspect it is more widespread than most people would like to acknowledge.

Is there a national directory of dentists who have equipped their practices to handle a range of non-neurotypical patients? Or advice on which statutes to cite when you're explaining how your family member's needs are not being met?


I takes a while to get dental services here in California I had to wait months for the California regional centers ( non profits that deal with developmental disabilities) to pay for cleaning and extraction and I need another cleaning and extraction. At least I had some of the rotten teeth cleaned and extraction it is worse in other states. What if the "tooth pain" in a person with or without autism is something more serious like oral or upper neck cancer misdiagnosed as common dental issues it is a pain in the butt to get insurance to pay for full body cat scan especially outside the emergency room. Speaking of cancer a cousin of mine who is only 21 years old is dying of stage 4 non Hogdkins lymphoma. At first they accused her at first of drug seeking behavior by complaining of back pain and other issues and months later after this doctors slander, when it was obviously she had something serious immune related diseased she had suspected "Lupus" in their opinion. A few months ago almost died from spinal compression from her lymphoma tumors and she will not survive more than a few years. Stop missing serious disease in people with and without autism. This is even more important for those with autism a more complete physical exam including CAT scans to hell with worrying about radiation your child or young adult life may depend on it and group homes atribute symptoms of serious disease to "autism".


Autistic kindergarten boy assaults and causes hospitalization to Hollywood, FL teacher for 3rd time:

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