CED Activities Info 2015/03

Issue 3 – June/July 2015


Special Olympics athletes in Belgium – primary results of 2015 screening.

Special Olympics (SO) is a global sports organisation for persons with mental disabilities including a Healthy Athletes programme as part of the activities. The objectives of this study was to evaluate the oral health condition and treatment needs of the participants of the Special Smiles (SpSm) programme during the national games held in Belgium in 2015 ( Brussels) . This screening was organised in Belgium as a unique collaboration between 3 major dental schools (UGent/ KULeuven and UCLouvain) and 4 dental professional organisations (WTB/ VVT, VBT, SMD, CSD) and a commercial partner GABA Belux.

A convenience sample of 873 Belgian SpSm athletes was clinically examined by trained and calibrated dentists, using the international CDC SO SpSm guidelines. In addition, data on oral health related topics were collected through a brief interview. Over 80 % of the athletes reported that they brushed the teeth at least once a day. Over 45 % of the athletes had signs of gingival inflammation and more than ¼ presented with untreated clinically visible  caries. Based on the oral examination almost 50 % of the athletes were referred to a dentist for the treatment of visually diagnosed oral health problems; over 10 % of them needed an urgent dental visit.


These primary results of this study suggest that there is a need for preventive and curative care in the Belgian Special Smiles population.

Contributed by VVT - Verbond der Vlaamse Tandartsen

[M. DE DECKER (WTB- VVT – Flemish taskforce Dentistry for Special Needs) and L. MARKs (Centre for Special Care in dentistry – Ghent university – Belgium)]



For more information contact:
CED Brussels Office
Tel: + 32 2 736 34 29