UMMS Affiliation

Shriver Center, Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research; Lamar Soutter Library

Publication Date


Document Type



Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dental Public Health and Education | Health Services Administration | Mental Disorders | Nervous System Diseases


Oral health is a public health concern for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD). Research consistently shows that the population with I/DD experiences poorer oral hygiene, higher prevalence and severity of periodontal disease, and higher incidence of untreated caries when compared to the general population. Poor oral health can cause chronic pain, affect the ability to eat and communicate, and adversely affect physical health and quality of life. Intervention strategies include enhanced prevention, increased routine care, expanded insurance coverage, and training for dentists and hygienists. Research is needed to identify the most effective interventions. A standard systematic literature review for evidence-based practices is not adequate for identifying and evaluating the evidence in areas such as health policy and individual health behaviors. This presentation describes the structured processes used in uncovering evidence where there is limited published literature that includes 1) the I/DD population and 2) traditional scientific reviews of interventions addressing their oral health. By adapting a transdisciplinary conceptual model, which could be applied to a multitude of disciplines, we identify the best available evidence as collected through a conventional systematic review, allowing for additional emphasis on the personal, social and environmental factors that affect the I/DD population. The process includes search strategies to include peer reviewed and gray literature, along with other associated programs, policies, and practices, resulting in a unique evidence base from varied sources. Additionally, we frame and refine a formal plan to review the outcomes and establish a level of evidence for the identified interventions.


Evidence Based Practice, Oral Health, Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities

Journal/Book/Conference Title

2013 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting


Presented at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting on November 4, 2013, Boston, Mass.