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J Am Dent Assoc. 2012 Aug;143(8):838-46.

The oral health status of 4,732 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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  • 1Department of Public Health and Community Service, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, 1 Kneeland St., 1534 F, Boston, Mass. 02111, USA.



Two reports by the U.S. surgeon general noted the disproportionate impact of oral disease on and lack of oral health information regarding people with disabilities.


In this retrospective study, the authors used clinical and demographic data (from April 1, 2009, through March 31, 2010) from electronic dental records of 4,732 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) who were receiving dental care through a state-supported system of dental clinics. The authors used these data to investigate the oral health status of, and associated risk factors for, adults with IDD.


The prevalence of untreated caries in the study population was 32.2 percent, of periodontitis was 80.3 percent and of edentulism was 10.9 percent. The mean (standard deviation) numbers of decayed teeth; missing teeth; and decayed, missing and filled teeth were 1.0 (2.2), 6.7 (7.0) and 13.9 (7.7), respectively.


Management of oral health presents significant challenges in adults with IDD. Age, ability to cooperate with dental treatment and type of residence are important considerations in identifying preventive strategies.


The study population demonstrated a high burden of dental disease. Further research is required to identify effective interventions to improve oral health in adults with IDD.

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