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Br Dent J. 2013 Jun;214(12):627-32. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2013.581.

Oral health of female prisoners in HMP Holloway: implications for oral health promotion in UK prisons.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, Gower Street Campus, 1-19 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.



This study describes the oral health status and associated risk factors in a sample of female prisoners and compares their oral health to that of the female population from the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey.


A random sample of prisoners was selected from HMP Holloway, London. Structured interviews were carried out to collect information on oral health behaviours and oral health related quality of life. Clinical examinations using the Adult Dental Health Survey criteria assessed the oral health needs of prisoners.


The mean age of female prisoners (n = 103) was 30.9 ± 9.6 years. The prevalence of oral diseases was high. Seventy-five percent had decayed or unsound teeth. The mean DMFT was 12.3 ± 7.5. Compared to the general female population, prisoners had more decayed and fewer filled teeth. Sixty-six percent had periodontal pockets of 4 mm or more. A large proportion (73%) reported at least one oral impact on daily performances. Prisoners were more likely than the general female population to engage in oral health damaging behaviours such as high sugar intake and smoking.


This survey has demonstrated the poor state of oral health and identified considerable levels of unmet dental treatment needs in HMP Holloway. Urgent action is required to address this major public health problem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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