Homeless in Scotland: An Oral Health and Psychosocial Needs Assessment

Laura Beaton (Lead / Corresponding author), Emma Coles, Ruth Freeman

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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The aim of this research was to conduct an oral health and psychosocial needs assessment of a homeless population in Scotland to determine the levels of unmet need and provide recommendations for oral health improvement. A non-probability convenience sample of homeless people residing in seven Scottish Health Boards was collected. All consenting participants were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing their health and psychosocial needs, dental anxiety, and oral health-related quality of life. The participants’ oral health was examined by a trained and calibrated dentist and dental nurse. Eight hundred and fifty-three homeless people consented to take part. Participants had a mean D3cvMFT score of 16.9 (95% CI: 16.3, 17.6). Dental anxiety was high, with 20% scoring as dentally phobic. Respondents with higher dental anxiety were found to have significantly greater mean numbers of filled teeth than those with lower dental anxiety (t = −2.9, p < 0.05). Common oral health impacts were painful aching and discomfort while eating, experienced occasionally by 31% and 27% of the respondents, respectively. Fifty-eight percent of participants were found to have a depressive illness, and obvious decay experience was significantly higher among this section of participants (t = −4.3, p < 0.05). Homeless people in Scotland were found to be in need of a more accessible dental service than is currently available. An enhanced service should meet the oral health and psychosocial needs of this population to improve their oral health and quality of life
Original languageEnglish
Article number67
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalDentistry Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • homeless persons
  • oral health
  • delivery of health care
  • dental health services


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