Improving the oral hygiene of institutionalized mentally retarded clients.

B. Lange, C. Cook, D. Dunning, M. L. Froeschle, D. Kent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The quality of oral health care of persons with mental retardation has been reported in the literature to be less than that of their normal peers. The purpose of this study, set in a Midwest institution for persons with developmental retardation, was to determine if a change in policy followed by staff training and monitored by an interested third party would improve the oral hygiene of clients living on wards. METHODS: Methods used to train staff in proper toothbrushing were developed. Three living units were randomly selected for study: control, training plus accountability (experimental group I), and training without accountability (experimental group II). The direct care staff of both experimental groups were trained in proper toothbrushing techniques. Staff of the control group received no training. A dental hygienist visited the living unit periodically to evaluate and provide feedback on the plaque index scores taken by the caregivers in both experimental groups. RESULTS: The plaque indexes of group I showed significant improvement over the control group and group II. CONCLUSION: The results of this pilot study support the other findings of higher plaque indexes for residents with mental retardation and that modifying toothbrushing policies and staff training are not as critical to the improvement of the clients' oral hygiene as is the presence of an involved, interested third party.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH / American Dental Hygienists' Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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