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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 126-132

Relationship between untreated dental caries and dental neglect among mentally handicapped children: A cross-sectional study

Department of Public Health Dentistry, Government Dental College and Research Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Amit Kumar
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Government Dental College and Research Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2319-5932.159046

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Introduction: Dental caries is the most prevalent disease among mentally handicapped (MH) children worldwide. Dental neglect may throw light on complex relationships between individual behavior, environmental factors, and dental caries in children. Objectives: The objective was to assess the prevalence and severity of untreated dental caries and to explore the relationship between untreated dental caries and dental neglect among MH children and healthy children in Bangalore city. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional comparative study was conducted on 130, 6-17 years MH and 152 healthy school children in Bangalore city. A questionnaire on the children's sociodemographic background, oral health-related behaviors, and dental neglect scale was completed by the parents. Caries was assessed according to World Health Organization criteria (1997). Odontogenic infections were recorded using the pufa/PUFA index. Statistical tests such as Mann-Whitney U-test, Chi-square test, Spearmans correlation, and step-wise linear regression were performed at significance level P < 0.05. Results: Dental caries was present in 89.2% of MH children as compared with 88.15% of the healthy children. Caries experience significantly correlated with consequences of untreated dental caries in both the groups (P = 0.001). No statistical significant correlation was observed between dental neglect and dental caries experience and its consequences in both the groups. Conclusions: High prevalence of dental caries and dental neglect in both the groups calls for an integrated approach. Oral health promotion and intervention programs should be targeted and concentrated toward these risk groups.

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