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Health promotion and public health
Oral health should be considered when working with adults with intellectual disabilities, and larger, higher-quality studies in this area are needed
  1. James Hill1,
  2. Alison Doherty1,
  3. Jayne Firestone2
  1. 1 Evidence Synthesis, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
  2. 2 School of Nursing, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
  1. Correspondence to James Hill, Evidence synthesis, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK; jehill1{at}

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Commentary on: Ward LM, Cooper SA, Hughes-McCormack L, et al. Oral health of adults with intellectual disabilities: a systematic review. J Intellet Disabil Res 2019;63:1359–78. doi:10.1111/jir.12632

Implications for practice and research

  • Larger, higher-quality studies are needed to investigate the oral health needs of adults with intellectual disabilities.

  • Specific training in oral hygiene care and oral disease management should be given when working with adults with intellectual disabilities.


Poor oral health can have a harmful influence on an individual’s self-esteem, self-image, social interaction, stress, mood and can cause other health problems.1 In a previous systematic review, it was highlighted that adults with intellectual disabilities were more likely to experience poor oral health compared with the general public.2 Since this publication there has been a wide range of international research and policy development looking at specifically improving oral health for adults with intellectual disabilities.3 This systematic …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.