Oral Health Disparities

Systematic Review of Interventions to Reduce Oral Health Disparities between Adults with Intellectual Disability and the General Population

Research indicates that people with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) experience poorer oral hygiene, higher prevalence and severity of periodontal disease and have a higher incidence of untreated caries than the general population. 

Barriers to good care for people with IDD range from policy and financial constraints, lack of trained clinicians that limit access to necessary care, attitudes that minimize the importance of oral health among care providers, and factors related to health behaviors that limit the ability to tolerate dental procedures.

People with IDD are often excluded from research due to consent requirements, or when included, there is no means of distinguishing outcomes for this subpopulation.

Using a formal protocol and expert panels, a systematic review led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, along with partner American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD), identified a wide range of interventions related to the oral health for people with IDD.

The limited available evidence and research findings resulted in a methods paper on the literature review, and a promising practices document of this emerging field.

A Structured Approach Using the Systematic Review Data Repository (SRDR): Building the Evidence for Oral Health Interventions in the Population With Intellectual and Developmental Disability (pdf)

The article demonstrates a review strategy for oral health interventions aimed at reducing disparities between people with IDD and the general population, using the free, online Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research Systematic Review Data Repository (SRDR) tool. Researchers used the online title/abstract review program Abstrackr and the SRDR tools to structure the literature review and data extraction.

Oral Health Care for Adults with IDD:  A Summary of Evidence-based and Promising Practices (pdf)

To date, there has not been enough evidence-based research on interventions specifically for people with IDD.  Using the results from the systematic review process, the research team identified examples considered promising practices. These examples have been adopted by clinicians or programs, are well described, and demonstrate some good outcomes. 

Principal Investigator:  Alexandra Bonardi

This project was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects & Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), 2012-2015