Correlation of oral health home-care practices, snacking habits and dental caries experience among HIV-positive children in Nairobi, Kenya
AbstractObjective: To determine the correlation of oral health home-care practices, snacking habits and dental caries experience among 3-15 year-old- HIV-positive children attending out-patient clinic at the Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya.
Design: Cross-sectional descriptive study.
Setting: Kenyatta National Hospital comprehensive care centre out-patient clinic.
Subjects:Two hundred and twenty participants were selected by consecutive sampling. The children’s socio-demographic characteristics and oral health home-care practices were obtained from parent or guardian interviews. Oral examination of the children was carried out to determine the presence of dental caries.
Results: Of the 220 children in the study, 126 (57.3%) brushed their teeth at least once a day. Forty one (18.6%) children regularly consumed sweetened snacks daily. Almost all children (75.5%) were taking medication in the form of tablets and capsules. One hundred and seventy nine (81.4%) children had never had a dental visit. The prevalence of dental caries was 65% while the mean dmft and DMFT scores were 1.75 and 1.08 respectively. Caries experience was significantly higher for those children who frequently consumed sweetened snacks and those who took their medication in the form of sweetened syrups while it was lowest in those who brushed their teeth at least twice a day.
Conclusion: Dental caries experience was significantly higher among HIV-infected children who had increased frequency of consumption of sweetened snacks and those who used syrupy medication. There was poor attendance for dental treatment among the children.