People with special needs experience substantially higher levels of oral disease and have extra barriers to accessing dental care. There are a number of factors contributing to this problem including access to appropriate services, cost, lack of dental awareness from carers and a lower understanding of general health issues.
Inclusion Melbourne is a unique service for people with an intellectual disability that believes people with a disability should be able to live in an inclusive community, supported by people who care for them, and have the same opportunities as the general population to participate in community life.
nib foundation worked with Inclusion Melbourne in 2014 to produce a dental care resource for young people with an intellectual disability and their carers. The Your Dental Health guide is a dual read guide designed to help people in the disability sector navigate the oral health system, and has been endorsed by the Australian Dental Association.
To build on the success of this initiative, an additional grant in 2016 will be used to increase the accessibility and detail of the resource booklet through the use of a dedicated website featuring animated and video content. Inclusion Melbourne will also run workshops to complement the resource booklet and website.
The expansion of this project will continue to spread the message for the need of good oral hygiene.
Having bad teeth is not only painful, expensive and dysfunctional for digestion and general health, it can also cause embarrassment and isolation - especially for young people with disability who are eager to connect with their peers.
This project aims to reduce long-term oral health issues and encourage preventative care to give young people with a disability the best chance to have healthy teeth throughout their adult life.
For more information visit: www.inclusion.melbourne or check out your dental health