Against the back drop of more states dropping dental services as an optional Medicaid service, the American Dental Association's August issue provides further evidence of the disproportionately poor status of dental health for people with intellectual disabilities that currently have access to coverage.
The 2009-10 Tufts University study examined the dental status of 4,700 people with intellectual disabilities who were receiving dental care through a Massachusetts state-supported system of dental clinics. The authors concluded that people with ID are far more likely to have poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease and untreated dental caries than are members of the general population.
The study concluded that, "even with access to a specialized dental program, our findings indicate that the study population had a high burden of dental disease. Further research is required to identify and develop risk-based preventive interventions to manage oral disease in people with IDD and maximize the role of the dental professional, patient and caregiver to maintain adequate oral health for people with IDD."