Oral health status of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Peer-reviewed article
(2017 Oct) Dev Med Child Neurol, 59 1019-1026


Zhou N, Wong HM, Wen YF, Mcgrath C



To compare the oral health status of children and adolescents affected by intellectual disabilities with their unaffected counterparts.


Citations published in English were searched from electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Scopus) from their start dates to March 2017. The whole process was conducted following PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. The PICO (population, intervention/interest, comparator, outcome) principle was used to formulate the topic. Studies were synthesized through qualitative summary or, whenever possible, meta-analysis.


The initial search yielded 2393 records. Thirty-nine studies from 22 countries were identified for qualitative analysis; 26 studies were eligible for meta-analysis. Participants with intellectual disabilities had higher levels of dental plaque, worse gingival status, fewer decayed and filled permanent teeth, and similar caries experience between males and females. These findings were supported by both qualitative and quantitative analysis. Various patterns of caries experiences were indicated by qualitative analysis, but it was not substantiated by meta-analysis.


There is increasing worldwide interest in oral health status of children with intellectual disabilities. Differences in dental plaque deposition, gingival inflammation, and the number of decayed and filled permanent teeth were investigated between children and adolescents with and without intellectual disabilities. Evidence remains elusive about the pattern of caries experience among those children.