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Keywords:

  • homeless;
  • oral health;
  • dental caries;
  • dental needs

ABSTRACT

The authors report on an oral health survey among Hong Kong Chinese homeless people. A total of 140 homeless men underwent clinical examination and were interviewed with a structured questionnaire. More than 90% had evidence of caries experience; most (75%) were related to untreated caries. The mean DMFT score was 9.0 (DT=3.2, MT=5.2. FT=0.6). Periodontal disease was highly prevalent, with 96% having periodontal pockets. The dental problems most frequently reported by the homeless were: bleeding gums or drifting teeth (62%), dental pain (52%) and tooth trauma (38%). More than 70% of the study's participants perceived a need for dental care. The population surveyed had poorer oral health compared to the general population. High levels of dental needs, both normative and perceived, were found. There is a need to provide more accessible and affordable oral health services to this group of people.