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Uncovering the evidence: Systematic review of interventions to reduce oral health disparities between adults with Intellectual Disability and the general population
Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center Publications
  • Christine J. Clifford, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Alexandra Bonardi, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Nancy E. Harger, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Matthew Holder, American Academy of Developmental Medicine & Dentistry
UMMS Affiliation
Shriver Center, Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research; Lamar Soutter Library
Publication Date
Document Type
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

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

Citation Information
Christine J. Clifford, Alexandra Bonardi, Nancy E. Harger and Matthew Holder. "Uncovering the evidence: Systematic review of interventions to reduce oral health disparities between adults with Intellectual Disability and the general population" (2013)
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