Oral health of patients with intellectual disabilities: a systematic review

Spec Care Dentist. 2010 May-Jun;30(3):110-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1754-4505.2010.00136.x.


A systematic review of original studies was conducted to determine if differences in oral health exist between adults who have intellectual disabilities (ID) and the general population. Electronic searching identified 27 studies that met the inclusion criteria. These studies were assessed for strength of evidence. People with ID have poorer oral hygiene and higher prevalence and greater severity of periodontal disease. Caries rates in people with ID are the same as or lower than the general population. However, the rates of untreated caries are consistently higher in people with ID. Two subgroups at especially high risk for oral health problems are people with Down syndrome and people unable to cooperate for routine dental care. Evidence supports the need to develop strategies to increase patient acceptance for routine care, additional training for dentists to provide this care, and the development of more effective preventive strategies to minimize the need for this care.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dental Care for Disabled / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Down Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability* / epidemiology
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene / statistics & numerical data
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Persons with Mental Disabilities* / statistics & numerical data