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Many caregivers give persons with autism sweet foods as rewards and this may lead to poor oral hygiene. Anecdotally, the risk for dental cavities and periodontal (gum and supporting structures) disease will increase with such a practice. The use of stringent oral hygiene practices will be needed to avoid this, but are often times difficult as many persons with autism have an aversion to mouth cleaning techniques. In addition, many persons with autism show signs of bruxism (non-functional grinding, clenching, and rubbing of teeth); bite foreign objects (resulting in traumatic mouth injuries), and indulge in self-aggression (very often damaging the mouth). Convulsions may also be a factor in mouth injuries in an autistic person.
Autism and Oral Healthcare