The self-reported oral health status and behaviors of adults who are deaf and blind

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This qualitative study explored perceived oral health, felt need, oral health knowledge and behaviors, and utilization of dental services among a community of deaf and blind adults in Toronto, Canada. Seven adults participated in in depth interviews facilitated by intervenors skilled in communication with people who are deaf and blind. Subjects reported that their oral health was good, however oral health knowledge was poor and daily oral hygiene practices were minimal. Few subjects had ever received dental health education and were largely unaware of how to prevent dental disease. A subsidized dental program enabled subjects to have regular dental visits, though they were concerned about the costs of more complex dental treatment not covered by the program. They also worried about finding an alternative source of care once their eligibility for the program ceased at the age of 65. The presence of the subsidized sympathetic dental program and the facilitative role of intervenors promoted utilization of dental care for many of the subjects who participated in this study. There is a clear need to develop appropriate dental health education programs for this group of people, which would harness the support of the community of deaf and blind people and their intervenors. The interventions need to be sensitive and appropriate for the individual's level of impairment.

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