March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, providing us with the opportunity to explore both the challenges and progress of the developmental disabilities community in achieving health equity. This month is dedicated to raising awareness of the barriers people with developmental disabilities face in connecting with their communities. These individuals and families often struggle to find accessible health care and services that align with their needs. Oral care is often neglected among people with disabilities, contributing to serious negative oral and overall health outcomes. 

 

Oral health professionals have made great advances in improving accessibility for patients with developmental disabilities. For instance, dental clinics such as the NYU Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities and the Care Center for Persons with Disabilities at Penn Dental provide essential care for patients with a disabiility or disabilities that challenge them to access care in traditional dental offices. Additionally, many research studies have examined the oral health needs of the disability community, as well as the need for integration of oral health as it relates to disabilities into nursing curricula. While health care services for individuals with developmental disabilities have improved, more oral health champions are needed to improve oral care in this community!