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Developmental Disabilities and Oral Health

Strategies for Providing Oral Care to People With Developmental Disabilities

Providing Oral Care series booklets

To achieve and maintain good oral health, people with mild or moderate developmental disabilities often require a special approach to dental care. With some adaptation of the skills dental professionals use every day, most people with special needs can be treated successfully in the general practice setting.

The series of publications, Practical Oral Care for People With Developmental Disabilities, equips dental professionals in the community with the basic information they need to deliver quality oral health care to people with special needs. The publications present an overview of physical, mental, and behavioral challenges common in patients with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disability and offer strategies for providing oral care. Also available are a guide for caregivers that explains home-based oral hygiene for the family member or client with special needs and a publication on safe wheelchair transfer.

Continuing Education Activity

Dental professionals can earn 2 credit hours with the continuing education test (PDF File, 260 KB) PDF file. After you read the NIDCR booklet “Practical Oral Care for People with Developmental Disabilities (PDF File, 1249 KB) PDF file,”  print out and take the continuing educ​ation test. To receive credit, you must send NIDCR your test form to be graded. There is no fee for the 25-question continuing education test.

You may mail your test form to:

NIDCR National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse
ATTN: Practical Oral Care CE
Bethesda, MD 20892-3500

Or, you may scan your completed test form and send to

NIDCR is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to the Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition at​

Health Information

Practical Oral Care for People With Developmental Disabilities Series

For Health Professionals

For Caregivers


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This page last updated: July 12, 2016