Prevalence of dental caries and gingivitis among children with type 1 diabetes mellitus attending an outpatient clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital in Kenya

  • M.A Sheikh
  • A.M. Kemoli
  • R.O. Owino


Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) has previously been associated with affluence, but currently its prevalence has been rising at an alarming rate in all populations worldwide. The reduced salivary secretions associated with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) can predispose the children to dental caries and gingivitis.

Objective of the study: To determine the prevalence of dental caries and gingivitis among a cohort of 3-18 year-old children diagnosed with T1DM attending Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) paediatric outpatient clinic.

Design: A descriptive cross-sectional study using a purposive sampling method.

Setting: KNH paediatric outpatient clinic.

Subjects: A total of 82 patients with T1DM and who attended the diabetic outpatient clinic at KNH during the months of January to May 2015 were studied. The diagnostic tests, duration since diagnosis of the disease and level of control of T1DM were obtained from the participants’ hospital records. An oral examination was undertaken under field conditions. Dental caries was determined using the WHO criteria 2005 and gingivitis scored using the gingival index by Loe and Silness 1963. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS version 20 computer software. Fisher’s exact test, Pearson’s Chi Square and regression models were used to test significant relationships (p<0.05) between the variables.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 11.6 ±4.1 SD, with the duration of having T1DM ranging from one month to six years. Seventy-two percent of the children had poorly controlled T1DM. While the prevalence of dental caries among the children was 78% and for gingivitis was 100%, there were no statistically significant relationships between T1DM and dental caries (p>0.05) and gingivitis (p>0.05)

Conclusion: The prevalence of dental caries and gingivitis was high, perhaps as a result of the high level of uncontrolled T1DM (72%) and the lack of oral health education among the patients in the study.


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eISSN: 0012-835X