CC BY 4.0 · Eur J Dent
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-1768151
Review Article

Oral Health Promotion among Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities: A Systematic Review

AlBandary Hassan AlJameel
1   Department of Periodontics and Community Dentistry, College of Dentistry, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Shabnam Gulzar
2   Dental Specialist, Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, District Hospital Pulwama, Kashmir, India
3   Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Vyas Dental College and Hospital, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. India
Alhassan Ali. Alshehri
4   Dentistry Department, North of Riyadh Dental Center, Second Health Cluster, Riyadh region, Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia
Sultan A. Almalki
5   Department of Preventive Dental Sciences, College of Dentistry, Prince Sattam Bin AbdulAziz University, Al-kharj, Saudi Arabia
Faris Y. Asiri
6   Department of Preventive Dental Sciences, College of Dentistry, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
Sharmeen J. Chaudhry
7   Independent Researcher, Ohio, United States of America
› Author Affiliations


People with disabilities experience inferior health and poor access to good quality health services as compared with the general population. Optimum oral health is associated with improvement in the quality of life in such patients. As oral diseases are largely preventable, good oral health education can have a positive impact on individuals with disabilities. So, the aim of the study was to review the effectiveness of oral health promotion among individuals with intellectual disabilities (IDs). Seven electronic databases were searched using keywords like intellectual disability/mental retardation/learning disability AND dental health education/health promotion. All records that were identified electronically from this search were subjected to a preliminary review to identify eligible papers. Identified studies were grouped into oral health promotion directed at individuals with IDs, and those aimed at caregivers of people with IDs. Interpretation of the outcomes included the effects on oral health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors (either observed or self-reported). Eventually, 16 studies were included in the review including five studies that were randomized controlled trials, while the remaining 11 studies were pre-post single group oral health promotion studies. Critical appraisal of each study was conducted with the 21-item criteria by Kay and Locker (1997) to provide a numerical quantification and ranking of the evidence. Positive changes in the behaviors and attitudes were observed, while other studies reported a considerable improvement in the knowledge of caregivers for oral healthcare of individuals with IDs. However, such activities need to be done over a long period of time with constant monitoring.


Efforts should be made to develop a model for effective oral health promotion, and improving the oral health status of people with IDs. There is also a need to develop a standardized method of measuring and assessing the outcomes of such interventions, and it should include measures of both objective indicators (such as plaque index or gingival index, caries prevalence) and more subjective ones (such as behavior change and/or attitudes, quality of life) among individuals with IDs and their caregivers.

Publication History

Article published online:
19 May 2023

© 2023. The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, permitting unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction so long as the original work is properly cited. (

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