Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) will partner with the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) to complete a systematic review of interventions that aim to reduce disparities in oral health in the population with intellectual disability. National and internationl research has demonstrated that people with intellectual disability are at greater risk of experiencing untreated tooth decay and other oral health complications that can negatively impact their general health and wellness. Barriers to oral health care include policy and financial constraints and a lack of trained clinicians that limit access to necessary care, and factors related to health behaviors such as personal factors limiting the ability to tolerate dental procedures, and attitudes that minimize the importance of oral health among care providers. Interventions have been developed to address both access and oral health issues but have not been systematically studied. Using a formal protocol, an advisory committee an expert review panel, and an expert consensus panel, the research team will identify and review a wide range of interventions for their effectiveness to improve the oral health in this population.
This project will develop the evidence base for interventions that improve oral health in the population with intellectual disability (ID). National and international research has shown that people with ID are more likely to have untreated tooth pain and decay, and to be at risk for health problems associated with poor oral health. The researchers will complete a systematic review of programs, policies, and procedures that aim to improve access to oral health care, and promote good oral health behaviors such as tooth brushing. The results of the systematic review will be compiled and presented publicly to help guide clinicians and policy makers to expand effective ways to improve the oral health of this population.