Year : 2011 | Volume
: 29 | Issue : 1 | Page : 25--27
Prevalence of oral health status in visually impaired children
KVKK Reddy, A Sharma
Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, College of Dental Surgery, Saveetha University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, College of Dental Surgery, Saveetha University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Introduction: The epidemiological investigation was carried out among 228 children selected from two schools of similar socioeconomic strata in and around Chennai city. Materials and Methods: The study population consisted of 128 visually impaired and 100 normal school going children in the age group of 6-15 years. The examination procedure and criteria were those recommended by W.H.O. in 1997. Results: The mean DMFT/deft was 1.1 and 0.17,0.87 and 0.47 in visually impaired and normal children, respectively. Oral hygiene levels in both groups were: mean value in good category was 0.19 and 0.67, in fair category was 0.22 and 0.1, and in poor category 0.40 and 0.23 in visually impaired children and normal children, respectively. Trauma experienced children were 0.29 and 0.13 in visually impaired children and normal children, respectively. Conclusion: The conclusions drawn from this study were that there was a greater prevalence of dental caries, poorer oral hygiene, and higher incidence of trauma in visually impaired children.
|How to cite this article:|
Reddy K, Sharma A. Prevalence of oral health status in visually impaired children.J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2011;29:25-27
|How to cite this URL:|
Reddy K, Sharma A. Prevalence of oral health status in visually impaired children. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Sep 26 ];29:25-27
Available from: http://www.jisppd.com/text.asp?2011/29/1/25/79922
The mouth is an integral part of the body and dental treatment can affect and be affected by the patient's general physical and mental status. A through health history is an important prerequisite to safe treatment. 
The W.H.O estimates that there are 40 million blind persons in the world. Legal blindness is defined in relationship to degree of severity of the visual impairment.  Total visual impairment is one disorder that may result in frequent hospitalization, separation from family, and slow social development. Because the capabilities of a child with blindness are difficult to assess, the child may be considered developmentally delayed. 
Reports reveal that motor activity affects the development of language and perception. Visually impaired children tend to have more accidents than other children during the early years while they are acquiring motor skills. Hypoplastic teeth and trauma to the anterior teeth have been reported to occur with greater than average frequency in visually impaired children. Such children are also more likely to have gingival inflammation because of their inability to see and remove plaque. Other abnormalities occur with the same frequency as in the general population. 
The patients handicapped by defective vision presents a special challenge to the dental health care team. Providing comprehensive dental care for the visually impaired children is not only rewarding but also a community service that health care providers are obligated to fulfill. 
True ability and talents of the blind are often underestimated. Hence, a comprehensive dental care for the visually impaired children was undertaken in one of the school in Chennai city.
The aims of the present study were as follows.
To assess the prevalence of dental caries, oral hygiene, and traumatic injuries in visually impaired children.To compare the data with these parameters with that of a group of children attending normal schools.
Materials and Methods
The study population consisted of 6-15 years old school-going visually impaired and normal children in Chennai. A total of 228 children were selected from two schools of similar socioeconomic strata. The study population consisted of 128 visually impaired and 100 normal school going children.
Prior consent was obtained from the respective school authorities and from the parents/guardians through the schools to conduct the study.
The visually impaired children were examined at their respective schools, seated on an ordinary chair, and under natural daylight using the mouth mirror and sharp probe. A single investigator was assisted by a trained person for recording the data throughout the study. The examination procedure and criteria used were those recommended by W.H.O in 1997.
The data collected was tabulated and subjected to statistical analysis.
The total of 228 school going children in the age group of 6-15 years with a distribution of 128 visually impaired and 100 normal children were included in this study.
Graph I depicts the caries prevalence between the visually impaired children and normal children of the study. The overall prevalence of dental caries was 40% and 11.5% in visually impaired children and normal children, respectively. The mean DMFT/deft was 1.1/0.17, 0.87/0.47 in visually impaired and normal children, respectively.
Graph 2 depicts the oral hygiene levels, which were classified as good, fair, and poor. The mean value in good category was 0.19 and 0.67, in fair category was 0.22 and 0.1, and in poor category was 0.40 and 0.23 in visually impaired children and normal children, respectively.
Graph 3 shows the traumatic experience of the anterior teeth in both groups. The mean value of total traumatic incidences in children was 0.29 and 0.13 in visually impaired children and normal children, respectively.
It was observed that 81.25% of the visually impaired children used toothbrushes, whereas 14.06% used finger for cleaning teeth. Toothpaste and tooth powder were used by 88.25% and 11.71% of the visually impaired children respectively. 89.84% of the visually impaired children cleaned their teeth once, while 10.01% cleaned their teeth twice.
Handicap is the loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in the normal life of the community on an equal level with others due to physical and social barriers. Blindness is not an all or nothing phenomenon; a person is considered to be affected by blindness if the visual acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with corrective lenses or if the acuity is greater than 20/200 but is accompanied by a visual field of no greater than 20 degrees. 
The present study provides information on dental health in a representative sample (n = 228) of 6-15 year old visually impaired (n = 128) and normal (n = 100) school children from Chennai.
Based on the present study, the average reported mean value for deft and DMFT for visually impaired children was 0.17 and 1.1, where in normal children mean value was 0.47 and 0.07, respectively.
The finding in this present study shows that the caries prevalence was high in the visually impaired children in special schools when compared normal children. Oral hygiene status in the study group was also found to be poorer compared to normal children. The reasons could be the lack of development of self-help skills, inability to see and remove plaque, and the stay in hostel thus leading to lack of supervision while brushing. 
Traumatic experiences were tabulated based on the classification given by Ellis and Davey in 1960. There was higher incidence of traumatic experiences (31.2%) in the study group than in the normal. This result is in accordance with those of the study conducted by AlSarheed et al who reported 13.2% of visually impaired children sustained trauma. Enamel and enamel-dentine fractures were the most common injury in all children and this was in agreement with most world-wide studies. 
Shaw et al reported in his study that there was a greater prevalence of dental caries and poorer oral hygiene in handicapped children attending special schools. 
Of the utmost importance when working with special children is emphasizing the need for excellent preventive dental care.  Certain modifications to behavioral management approaches, based on the degree of disability, the psychological development, and social integration, may facilitate the provision of dental treatment. 
The conclusions drawn from this study were that there was a greater prevalence of dental caries, poorer oral hygiene, and higher incidence of trauma in visually impaired children.
So we pedodontists play a key role not only in diagnosing the oral health conditions of such children but also to treat and to maintain the oral health thereby contributing to the general well-being of these individuals.
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