The aim of this study was to identify possible problem areas regarding preventive selfcare and dental care for severely mentally retarded children living at home. The sample test comprised parents (n = 126) and dentists (n = 40) of children between the ages of 4 and 12 from 7 randomly selected daycare centres in The Netherlands, who were asked to fi ll out a questionnaire. Of the children 32% were found to receive no dental care at all, while among the children from ethnic minority groups this number exceeded 50%. Of the parents two-thirds indicated that they had encountered problems with daily dental care and 70% reported that their child’s oral hygiene was in need of improvement. Of the dentists 25% were dissatisfi ed with the dental care they provide, and 75% felt that dental care for mentally retarded children needs improving. The results suggest that there is room for improvement in the support of parents of mentally disabled children in maintaining an adequate level of oral hygiene, and that adequate training of dental professionals in serving the needs of people with severe disabilities is wanted.