Journal of Disability and Oral Health

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June 2014
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National levels of reported difficulty in tooth and denture cleaning among an ageing population with intellectual disabilities in Ireland

Aims and objectives: This paper aims to describe reported difficulty and frequency in carrying out oral hygiene practices among an ageing population with intellectual disabilities in Ireland. Methods: This cross-sectional survey was based on a nationally representative sample of people with intellectual disability over 40 years of age, randomly selected from a National Intellectual Disability Database as part of the first wave of the Intellectual Disability Supplement to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (IDS-TILDA). Level of reported difficulty was used to categorise the sample into three groups: those reporting no difficulty, those reporting some difficulty and those who cannot care for their teeth / dentures at all. The sample was further categorised into those with and without reported difficulty cleaning their teeth / caring for their dentures, for purposes of logistic regression. Independent variables correlating (p < 0.05) with level of reported difficulty brushing / cleaning dentures were included in this regression model to identify factors predictive of difficulty caring for teeth/ dentures. Results: The mean age of participants was 54.1 years (SD 8.8). Out of 753 participants, 412 (55.5%) reported no difficulty cleaning their teeth / dentures, 159 (21.3%) had some or a lot of difficulty and 172 (23.2%) reported that they could not clean their own teeth / dentures at all. The regression model showed that type of residence, increasing level of ID and the presence of reported oral problems were predictive of reported difficulty cleaning teeth/taking care of dentures. Conclusions: This study showed that most people with ID in Ireland report no difficulties cleaning their teeth or taking care of their dentures. Even among those with some difficulty, the exact level of difficulty varied from little difficulty to complete inability.

Key words: Ageism, intellectual disability, tooth brushing

Doi: 10.4483/JDOH_ Mac Giolla Phdraig06

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C Mac Giolla Phadraig, R el-Helaali, E Burke, P McCallion, E McGlinchey, M McCarron, JH Nunn

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