Home Contact

Teeth TLC

People with Learning Disabilities


  • Keep Your Mouth and Teeth Healthy

    Keep Your Mouth and Teeth Healthy

  • Going to the Dentist

    Going to the Dentist

In general, people with learning disabilities can have poorer oral health than those without these conditions. Problems performing self care, sweetened nutritional supplements and certain medications are common contributing factors.

Carers play a vital role in supporting individuals to maintain their oral health. It’s also important for carers to monitor any changes in an individual’s mouth, seeking advice from a dental professional should they have any concerns.

Oral Health Care Plans:

Individuals should have an oral health care plan which lists all the necessary daily care and dental check ups they require. Most people with learning disabilities will have their own teeth, however, even for those without, a daily oral health routine remains essential. 

If you care for someone as part of your professional role, Health Scotland have developed a series of oral care plans which can be used to help you support their oral health. Adapted versions of these resources can be downloaded on the 'Key Tips for Carers' page.

  • Oral Hygiene Advice

    Click here to visit our Key Tips for Carers section which contains information and advice about supporting someone to maintain their oral hygiene.

  • Dietary Advice

    Try to keep sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes only. Some healthy snack ideas include fruit, veggie sticks, oatcakes, toast, low fat crackers and cheese or breadsticks and a sugar-free dip such as houmous or tomato salsa. The only drinks which are safe for teeth between meals are milk and water.

    Medicines often contain high amounts of sugar which can harm teeth, especially if taken long term. Fortunately, many of the medicines required by those with learning disabilities are now available in sugar-free varieties. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist for the sugar-free option if available. If the medicine does contain sugar, try to take it at mealtimes unless advised otherwise.  If the medicine is to be taken before bedtime, be sure to brush the teeth afterwards.

    Some medicines can cause the mouth to become dry which can also harm the teeth. Speak to your dentist if you are concerned.   

NHS Grampian have developed two accessible oral health information leaflets for those with learning difficulties entitled ‘Keep Your Mouth and Teeth Healthy’ and ‘Going to the Dentist’. These can be downloaded by clicking the images to the left. The EasyHealth website also contains a wide selection of accessible oral and general health information resources, including videos and downloadable storyboard pamphlets.

For further information or advice about looking after the oral health of the person you care for, contact your dentist or the free NHS Grampian Healthline on 0808 5 20 20 30.