Oral Health Status of Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities: A Review.

Peer-reviewed article
(2019 Jun) Open Access Maced J Med Sci, 7 2044-2049


Al-Shamlan SO, Mohammad M, Papandreou D



Oral health reflects the overall health of an individual; it impacts the mental and physical well-being, quality of life, and social relations of an individual. Special Olympics (SO) athletes have been found to have poorer oral health, and high unmet treatment needs globally. Nine articles are included in this systematic review to determine the oral health status of Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities.


To identify the oral health status of athletes with intellectual disabilities who participated in the Special Olympics.


Electronic bibliographic databases (PubMed, Biology database, Health management database, Science Direct, Health and medical collection (ProQuest), Mendeley, and Health reference centre academic) were used to search for eligible publications using "oral health," "special needs athletes," and "intellectual disabilities" terms. All included articles are in English and were published from 2000-2018. The whole process was conducted following PRISMA guidelines.


The search strategy yielded 4,090 articles. Only nine articles met the criteria and were included in the final analysis. All included articles reported outcome measurements of gingival signs, missing teeth, untreated decay, filled teeth and sealant.


The oral health status of athletes with intellectual disabilities can be considered poor compared with athletes without intellectual disabilities, which points to the need for oral health policies for this specific population.