Community dentistry and oral epidemiology vol:28 issue:1 pages:73-80
As part of a larger epidemiological survey of a stratified sample of 12-year-old handicapped children in Flanders, Belgium, the present study describes gingival health, gingival hypertrophy, oral cleanliness and the presence of calculus. Statistical analysis was performed with motor skills, brushing help, the use of chemical agents, the use of anti-epileptic drugs, the knowledge of parents and educators (or caregivers) and their opinion of the oral hygiene of their children/ pupils as response variables. From this study, it became clear that mildly mentally retarded and learning-impaired children had significantly better manual dexterity skills than moderately and severely mentally retarded and physically impaired children. However, this was not reflected in improved oral hygiene. The use of chemical plaque controlling agents was found to be extremely low and, with the exception of children with gingival hyperplasia, the users of these agents did not have better oral hygiene. No difference was found between subtypes in the opinion of parents and educators on oral status. There was, however, a difference between their assessment and the clinical picture. It was concluded that there was a need for in-service training programmes in oral health care for educators as well as for parents.