Introduction Population level detailed data describing hospital admissions for dental reasons in children with intellectual disability (ID) is lacking. This paper describes dental hospitalisations in children under five years of age identified with ID and compares with children without ID.
Methods Data were extracted from population databases in Western Australia linking midwives' data collected on all births with population data regarding birth defects, ID, hospitalisations and deaths. Children born 1983–1992 (n=243 031; ID=3522) were studied as these were the birth years where ID data were available; dental hospitalisations (DH) up to the fifth birthday were utilised.
Results Linked data were examined for those who had had a DH including 214 children with ID (DH=246) and for 6119 children without ID (DH=6713). Children with ID were more likely to have a dental hospitalisation (OR 2.47; 95% CI 2.14 to 2.84). For those with ID, having a dental hospitalisation was associated with factors including being privately insured (1.41; 1.06 to 1.87), having a birth defect (2.24; 1.69 to 2.96) and living in an area without fluoridated water supply (2.09; 1.16 to 3.75).
Conclusion Linkage of population databases can provide valuable information on dental hospitalisations for children with intellectual disability and assist in planning appropriate services.
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