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Keywords:

  • oral health;
  • homeless;
  • dental care

Abstract

Objectives: This study aimed to assess the oral health status of the Toronto adult homeless population; to learn how they perceive their own oral health; and to correlate the presence of oral disease with length of homelessness and unemployment.

Methods: This cross-sectional descriptive study collected data from 191 homeless adults who were randomly selected using a stratified cluster sample at 18 shelters. A questionnaire and clinical oral examination were conducted with participants.

Results: The mean Decayed/Missing/Filled Teeth (DMFT) score of the subjects was 14.4 (SD = 8.1). Only 32% of them had visited a dentist during the last year, 75% believed that they had untreated dental conditions, and 40% had their last dental visit for emergency care. The clinical oral examination observed that 88% needed fillings, 70% periodontal, 60% prosthodontic, and 40% emergency treatment.

Conclusion: Homeless adults in Toronto have poor oral health, significant oral health treatment needs, and a lack of access to dental care.