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Spec Care Dentist. 2014 Nov-Dec;34(6):265-72. doi: 10.1111/scd.12067. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Dental attendance among older adults with intellectual disabilities in Ireland.

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  • 1Dublin Dental University Hospital, Department of Child and Public Dental Health, Dublin, Ireland; School of Dental Science, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.



To investigate dental attendance patterns and reasons for nonattendance among older adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) in Ireland.


A cross-sectional survey of quantitative data and text analysis of qualitative data drawn from a nationally representative sample of 753 people with ID over 40 years of age in Ireland. Participants were considered as regular or irregular dental attenders for analysis of quantitative data. Text analysis grouped open-ended responses for analysis.


There were slightly more females. Mean age was 54.1 years (SD = 8.8). Almost half had moderate ID. A majority (86.5%) of respondents attended dental services within the last 2 years. Age and type of residence were associated with frequency of attendance (p < .01), as were dentate status and reported oral problems (p < .001). Text analysis revealed a lack of perceived need as a reason for not attending regularly.


Older people with ID in Ireland report a very high level of regular dental attendance. Irregular attenders did not attend because they saw no need. There is a need to further study the importance of regular dental attendance for this population.


ageism; dental attendance; intellectual disability

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