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Dental caries among disabled individuals attending special schools in Vhembe district, South Africa

Dental caries among disabled individuals attending special schools in Vhembe district, South Africa

Sadj 68(10): 458-461

To determine the prevalence of dental caries among disabled individuals attending special schools in Vhembe districts. A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted from January to June 2012 among disabled individuals receiving special care in four specialised schools of Vhembe District. The research protocol had been approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Limpopo, Polokwane Campus. Informed consent was obtained from the parents of the participants and from the respective school principals. Oral health examinations took place at the school under natural light, with participants seated on an ordinary chair/wheelchair. Dental caries examinations were carried out, using a mirror and wooden spatula in accordance with World Health Organisation (WHO) criteria and methods. Decayed, missing and filled primary and permanent teeth (dmft, DMFT) were recorded. All disabled individuals who were available during a screening period, were included. Those who were not available, as well as those whose health conditions could be compromised by dental examinations, were excluded. The number of decayed teeth ranged from 0-7 in children below 6 years, 0-12 in children below 11 years; and 0-17 among young adults. The mean decay scores and the numbers of missing teeth increased with age. Only 3 (0.04%) individuals had dental fillings. The mean dmft score of children under 6 years was 5.51 (+/- 2.1), ranging from zero to 8. The mean DMFT's of the 11-18 and 19 years and older groups were 7.38 (+/- 3.22) and 10.24 (+/- 2.97) respectively. Disabled individuals exhibited higher caries prevalence and unmet dental needs than the same age general population in Limpopo. Preventive measures and dental treatment should be considered urgent requirements at special needs schools in the Vhembe District.

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Accession: 052487618

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PMID: 24660420

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