To evaluate dental knowledge and attitudes toward oral health care among healthcare providers and educators working with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in central Saudi Arabia.
There were 305 questionnaires distributed to 7 special-needs centers between September and November 2014. A total of 217 questionnaires were collected with a response rate of 71.1%. The study took place in the College of Dentistry, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Approximately 50.2% of the participants did not offer any toothbrushing advice, and 73.3% never recommended dental checkup visits to parents, and 75.6% never performed dental examinations to children under their care. Ten percent thought that children should have their first dental visit after 6 years of age. Almost all participants agreed that children should practice oral hygiene, and 60.4% think they should brush twice per day. In general, the participants choose toothbrushes and toothpaste as the main tools to perform oral hygiene. There were 35% of participants who believed that parents should be responsible for the children’s oral hygiene, and a few participants mentioned teachers and therapists to be responsible. Most of the participants (71.4%) did not receive any dental information from dental professional resources, only 14.3% of participants believed bacteria to be the cause of dental cavities.