Child oral health and preventive dental service access among children with intellectual disabilities, autism and other educational additional support needs: a population-based record linkage cohort study

Sherriff, A. , Stewart, R., Macpherson, L. M.D. , Kidd, J. B.R., Henderson, A. , Cairns, D. and Conway, D. I. (2023) Child oral health and preventive dental service access among children with intellectual disabilities, autism and other educational additional support needs: a population-based record linkage cohort study. Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, (doi: 10.1111/cdoe.12805) (PMID:36354158) (Early Online Publication)

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Objective: Inequalities in child oral health are a global challenge and the intersection of socioeconomic factors with educational additional support needs (ASN), including children with intellectual disabilities or autism, have thus far received limited attention in relatively small clinical studies. We aimed to address this evidence gap by investigating oral health and access to preventive dental services among children with ASN compared to the general child population. Methods: Cohort study linking data from six Scotland-wide health and education databases compared: dental caries experience and tooth extraction via general anaesthetic; receipt of school-based dental inspection; access to primary care and hospital dental services; and access to the Childsmile national oral health improvement programme between children with a range of ASN (intellectual disabilities, autism, social and other) and their peers for the school years 2016/17–2018/19 (n = 166 781). Results: Children with any ASN had higher rates of caries experience than those with no ASN, however, after adjustment for socioeconomic deprivation, sex, year, and school type only those with a social or other ASN remained at increased risk. Rates of tooth extraction under general anaesthesia in hospital were higher among children with intellectual disabilities (aRR = 1.67;95% CI = [1.16–2.37]). School-based dental inspection access improved for children with intellectual disability and/or autism from 2016/17 onwards, although higher rates of child refusal on the day were observed in these groups (no ASN refusal: 5.4%; intellectual disability: 35.8%; autism: 40.3%). Children with any ASN were less likely to attend primary dental-care regularly, and in those who attended, children with intellectual disability or autism were less likely than their peers to receive prevention (fluoride varnish, oral-hygiene instruction, or dietary advice). Childsmile nursery-supervised toothbrushing programme access among children with any ASN was similar to children with no ASN and children with intellectual disability (aRR = 1.27;95% CI = [1.12–1.45]) or autism (aRR = 1.32;95% CI = [1.19–1.45]) were more likely to receive support from Childsmile dental health support worker. Conclusions: We have identified inequalities in oral health and dental care for children with different ASN in Scotland with both a greater burden of disease among some groups and higher complexity of care; compounded by reduced and variable access to preventive dental services. Further efforts are needed to develop and improve preventive care pathways for children with ASN and integrate oral health to wider healthcare systems for these children to mitigate against oral health inequalities.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sherriff, Professor Andrea and Kidd, Dr Jamie and Macpherson, Professor Lorna and Cairns, Professor Deborah and Henderson, Mrs Angela and Conway, Professor David and Stewart, Ryan
Authors: Sherriff, A., Stewart, R., Macpherson, L. M.D., Kidd, J. B.R., Henderson, A., Cairns, D., and Conway, D. I.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
ISSN (Online):1600-0528
Published Online:10 November 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology 2022
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
303142Dental health of children with additional support needs / learning (?intellectual) disabilities in Scotland: population data linkage studies.David ConwayBaily Thomas Charitable Fund (BAILYTHO)TRUST/VC/AC/SG/4998-7964Med - Dental School