ORAL HEALTH STATUS AND UTILIZATION OF ORAL HEALTH SERVICES BY CHILDREN WITH CEREBRAL PALSY IN NAIROBI, KENYA
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Objective:To determine the Oral health status and the level of utilization of oral health services b children with cerebral palsy at two centers in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

Study Design:The study was a descriptive cross-sectional study that sought to determine the oral health status of children with cerebral palsy and relate it to their utilization of oral health services and its determinants.

 

Setting of Study:Nairobi, Kenya.

 

Subjects Studied:The target population was children aged 3 to 15 years old with prior diagnosis of cerebral palsy residing in Nairobi.

 

Results of the Study: -

 

A total of 78 children were recruited, 40 at CPSK and 38 at KNH.  The mean age was 5.21 years (sd 2.78, 0.32) with an age range of 3-14 years.  Males were 42 and females 36.   The mean dmft was 5.49 in deciduous dentition. Caries prevalence was high with the mean number of decayed teeth per child as 4.87 (95% ci-0.04 0.12) and , mean number of filled teeth of zero.  The oral health status was not related to any of the socio-demographic variables.

 

In general the oral health status was very poor with a mean plaque score of 1.56 (sd 0.87).  Twenty-eight (36.84%) children had poor oral hygiene, 28 (36.84%) fair, 16 (21.05%) good and only 4 children (5.26%) had excellent oral healthy gingivae, 24 (31.17%) had mild inflammation, 43 (55.84%) had moderate gingivitis and 8 (10.39%) severe gingivitis.

 

Utilization of oral health services was very poor since 57 (73.1%) of the children had never been to a dentist. Of those who had been to a dentist, 9 (47.37%) had attended a free check-up. Despite this low attendance, 45 (61.6%) of the respondents thought that it was important to take the child to a dentist and 33 (42.31%) said that it was important to do so regularly. There was no significant association between level of utilization and occupation of the parent/guardian (p=0.394) of the child.

 

Conclusion:The oral health status of the children with CP examined in this study was poor.Depsite the apparent level of awareness among the caregivers, there was low utilization of oral health services.