Assessment of oral hygiene in mentally disabled children

  • Suélen Alves Teixeira Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Paula Carolina Mendes Santos Universidade de São Paulo
  • Amanda Rodrigues Batista Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Bárbara Nascimento Albuquerque Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Mara Vasconcelos Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Ana Cristina Borges-Oliveira Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Keywords: Oral hygiene, Mentally disabled persons, Disabled persons, Disabled children, Mother-child relations.


Objective: To identify factors associated with the quality of oral hygiene in children with mental disabilities.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with a sample of 181 mentally disabled children aged three to 12 years and their mothers. The study was conducted in two public hospitals of medical care for special children in the city of Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil. The children were examined on the quality of oral hygiene and presence of caries lesions. The examiner was previously calibrated and were obtained kappa values of 0.90 to 0.87 for tooth decay and oral hygiene. The mothers answered a questionnaire addressing individual characteristics, behavioral and medical history of children. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of UFMG. Data were analyzed using the chi-square test and multivariate logistic regression, considered to be a significant 90.0%.
Results: Most of the children had mild intellectual disability (56.4%) and 43.6% had moderate mental disability. The quality of oral hygiene was considered adequate in 84.0% of children. A total of 172 mothers said that her son’s teeth were brushed daily (95.0%). Among them, the majority reported difficulties in this task (53.0%). Those children diagnosed with mild intellectual disability {OR=2.82 [90% CI (1.15 to 6.86)]} and the absence of decay {OR=7.68 [90% CI (3:03 to 19:45)]} were more likely they belong to the group of children identified with an adequate oral hygiene. 
Conclusion: The quality of oral hygiene was associated with tooth decay and the degree of mental disability of children.

Author Biography

Ana Cristina Borges-Oliveira, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Profa. Adjunta, Dept. de Odontologia Social e Preventiva, Faculdade de Odontologia da UFMG


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Original Article