Oral health needs of U.S. children with developmental disorders: a population-based study. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) have higher rates of oral diseases and tooth decay compared with the general population. Children with developmental disorders/ disabilities (DD) are a subset of CSHCN whose oral health has not been specifically addressed. Therefore, this study had two objectives: to describe the oral health needs (OHN) of children with DD compared with children without DD; and to assess barriers to access to care, utilization of dental services, and their association with oral health needs for children with DD. METHODS: This cross-sectional study utilized a sample of 30,530 noninstitutionalized children from the 2018 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH). Analysis was conducted using descriptive and inferential statistics. RESULTS: The analysis identified 6501 children with DD and 24,029 children without DD. Children with DD had significantly higher prevalence of OHN (20.3% vs. 12.2%, respectively), unmet dental needs (3.5% vs 1.2%), and utilization of any dental visits (86.1% vs 76.1%), (P-value<. 001). The adjusted logistic model identified four factors that contributed to the higher odds of OHN among children with DD: poverty (<100% of the Federal Poverty Level (AOR=2.27, CI: 1.46-3.51), being uninsured (AOR=2.12, 95% CI: 1.14-3.95), a high level of disability (AOR=1.89, CI: 1.23-2.78), and living in the western United States (AOR=1.61, CI: 1.09-2.37. CONCLUSION: Despite higher utilization of dental services, children with DD had poorer oral health and more unmet dental needs than children without DD. Advocacy efforts and policy changes are needed to develop affordable access that assesses,as early as possible, children with DD whose conditions impact their ability a great deal so that their potential OHN may be alleviated more effectively.

published proceedings

  • BMC Public Health

altmetric score

  • 3.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Obeidat, R., Noureldin, A., Bitouni, A., Abdellatif, H., Lewis-Miranda, S., Liu, S., Badner, V., & Timoth, P.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Obeidat, Raghad||Noureldin, Amal||Bitouni, Anneta||Abdellatif, Hoda||Lewis-Miranda, Shirley||Liu, Shuling||Badner, Victor||Timothé, Peggy

publication date

  • January 2022