Oral health and disability

People with disability experience more oral health problems than people without disability.


Compared to the general population, people with an intellectual disability have:

  • poorer oral hygiene
  • higher plaque levels
  • more severe gum disease
  • higher rates of untreated tooth decay
  • higher numbers of teeth removed
  • fewer natural teeth

The risk of oral disease increases when a person has multiple disabilities or complex health issues.

People with an intellectual disability are more likely to report their oral health as fair or poor, compared to the general population.

Staff, families, healthcare workers and other visitors to supported living facilities often recognise oral health as an area of concern for disability service users.