Relationship between maternal behavior and oral health in autistic children

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Illustration by Merdeka.com

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes individuals to be unable to relate to other people as if they live in their world alone. It can be seen from social interaction with other people, communication difficulty, repetitive behavior and cognitive instability. The birth rate in Indonesia is around 6 million per year, where the number of children with autism has increased by 0.15% or 6,900 children per year. Social interaction problems, communication disorders and cognitive instability in children with autism result in them being unable to maintain their oral hygiene individually optimally. This limitation results in frequent oral health issues in children with autism, where tooth and gum supporting tissue disease is a common problem.

Some of the children with autism can maintain the cleanliness of their oral cavity even with their limitations, but their oral hygiene is based on repetitive habits or healthy lifestyles of family members. Families are very influential in the behavior of children with autism in maintaining the health of their oral cavity, such as brushing their teeth, control for routine check-ups and other daily skills and habits. Therefore, oral health in children with autism is very dependent on their parents.

In a study conducted at school for children with autism in Surabaya, 50% of children aged 7-9 years of mixed teeth were obtained, followed by the age group> 10. years amounted to 26.47%, and the 3-6 years age group by 23.5%. Meanwhile, 79.41% of mothers have a college education background, followed by a group of mothers with an SD education (SD / SMP / SMA) by 20.58%. Examination of dental supporting tissue using CPITN index showed that 44% of children with autism had problems with the supporting tissue of their teeth.

Studies suggest a person’s ability to get dental care is directly related to individual income. Families with high socioeconomic status will find it easier to get health services. Most of the respondents in this study come from parents who have a high socioeconomic status. Thus, they have a greater chance of getting health services in achieving better dental health.

It is known that most of the mothers are housewives (47%), they have more time to pay attention to maintain the health of their children’s teeth considering that each autistic child has limitations in maintaining their dental health. Parents’ decisions also reflect the child’s oral health. If the mother’s behavior related to oral and dental health is good, then her child’s behavior will also be useful. All mothers have a high level of knowledge, which is 100%. Education can affect individual health status. The higher a person’s education level, the easier it is to obtain information. A well-educated person will have a better knowledge of maintaining and caring for his teeth. In this study, 91.1% of mothers had a good attitude in maintaining the dental health of their children. With the full level of the mother’s awareness about oral health, it will have an impact on the status of oral hygiene. The higher level of the mother’s awareness, the more actions the mother will take to maintain the health of the child’s teeth and mouth.

From previous studies, it was found that autistic children tend to have a preference for sugary foods and foods that quickly cause cavities. It can cause severe problems with oral health in children with autism. However, the results were different from previous studies. In this study, it was found that most children with autism have healthy dental supporting tissue. It can be caused by the awareness of mothers in maintaining the health of the oral cavity of children, as well as the school environment which is a place for children with autism to do their daily activities, supporting and caring for the oral health of children with autism.

Author: Mega Moeharyono Puteri

Link: https://actamedicaphilippina.upm.edu.ph/index.php/acta/article/view/679/625
(Correlation between Mother’s Behavior with Periodontal Status and Periodontal Treatment Needs in Autistic Children)

(Correlation between Mother’s Behavior with Periodontal Status and Periodontal Treatment Needs in Autistic Children)

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