Can Caregiver Reports Reflect Dental Treatment Needs of Patients with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities?

Oral Health Prev Dent. 2021 Jan 7;19(1):169-177. doi: 10.3290/j.ohpd.b972947.


Purpose: This study aimed to obtain the oral health-related factors of patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) from family caregivers and to relate caregiver-perceived risk factors to dental treatment needs of patients.

Materials and methods: A total of 120 dyads of patients (mean [SD] age = 29.1 [8.4] years) and their family caregivers (mean [SD] age = 56.5 [9.5] years) were included. Data were obtained from self-administered questionnaires by caregivers and oral examinations by a dentist. Oral health conditions of patients were analysed in different age groups using paired t-tests. Caregiver-perceived oral health conditions of patients and dentist-assessed caries and periodontal disease were compared using Pearson's chi-squared and Fisher's exact tests. Relationships between patient factors and treatment needs were analysed using multiple logistic regression.

Results: Tooth pain, chewing difficulty, and reasons for the last dental visit were associated with high numbers of decayed teeth (DT) (p < 0.05). Overall oral health condition of patients rated by caregivers was related to high DT and the Community Periodontal Index (CPI) score (p < 0.05). Well-maintained dental care of caregivers was associated with lower numbers of DT and less urgent treatment needs of patients (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: There were caregiver-perceived factors indicating dental treatment needs of patients with IDD. Proxy reports by caregivers can be used as risk predictors for ongoing dental problems of patients with communication limitations.

Keywords: DMFT; caregiver; caries; intellectual disability; oral health; periodontal index.

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Caries*
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Humans
  • Mouth Diseases*
  • Oral Health
  • Surveys and Questionnaires