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East African Medical Journal

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Evaluation of dietary habits and caries experience among children with and without hearing disability

J. Njama, G.N Opinya, L.W. Cathece, E. Ngatia

Abstract


Objective: To determine the caries experience of children with hearing disability (HD) in comparison to children without hearing disability. The study also aimed to determine the effect of nutritional status and confectionary diet on caries experience of children with hearing disability (HD) in comparison to children without hearing disability.
Design: A descriptive cross-sectional study.
Setting: Four Nairobi city council primary schools and centres which had an established unit for deaf children learning along with children who had normal hearing.
Subjects: One hundred and sixty two children were recruited in the study. 81 had hearing disability (HD) as an isolated handicapping condition attending four city council deaf units in Nairobi. Matching was done for age and gender with 81 children without HD from the same schools.
Results: Of the 81 children with HD, 58 (71.61%) had profound hearing impairment, 21 (25.93%) had severe hearing impairment, and 2 (2.46%) had moderate hearing impairment. Among the 81 children without HD, 7 children had slight hearing impairment while 74 had no hearing impairment. In both groups, the mean age of children was 10.3 years; 36 (44.4%) were males and 45 (55.6%) were female. The Mean dftwas lower among children with HD (1.06 ±2.34) compared to those without HD (1.11 ±2.72). This was not statistically significant (p = 0.67). The mean DMFT was higher among the children with HD (0.56 ±1.42) compared to those without HD (0.19 ±0.55). This was statistically significant (p = 0.05). Generally, there was a negative correlation between caries experience and nutritional status in both groups, though this was not statistically significant. It was found that 37.68% of children with HD consumed confectionaries more than twice a week and 36.96% of children without HD consumed confectionaries more than twice a week. This was not statistically significant (p=O.OS). Frequency of taking "kool" was found to have an association with the dft among the children with HD (p = 0.001), while milk/ tea with sugar was found to have an association with dft of the children without HD (p = 0.02). "Kool" is a snack made from sugar, artificial colouring and water, which is then cooled to ice.
Conclusion: Children with HD had statistically significant higher mean DMFT compared to the children without HD. There was no relationship between nutritional status and dental caries of children with HD and those without HD. However there was a relationship between the dietary habits and dental caries. "Kool" was related to caries experience of children with HD while milk/tea with sugar was related to caries experience of children without HD.



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