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Oral hygiene practices and status of epileptics and controls in Lagos
Introduction: Epilepsy is a clinically complex phenomenon with various underlying causes. It affects about 0.5-3.7% of the general population with higher rates in the rural area. Various adverse effects have been reported with the use of anticonvulsants. Gingival overgrowth is the most common oral side effect reported. Bacterial plaque is the primary aetiologic agent in inflammatory periodontal disease. This study therefore aims to investigate the oral health practices and status of epileptics and controls. This will form the basis of a more detailed study on the periodontal status and treatment needs of epileptic patients.
Materials and Method: One hundred and fifty consecutive epileptic patients attending neurology out-patient clinic of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital within a 6-month period were selected. One hundred and fifty patients forming the control group were also included in the study.
Both groups were made to fill questionnaires on their oral health practices and were examined to determine their oral health status. Location and severity of gingival diseases was determined using the Gingival Index; and Simplified Oral Hygiene Index of Greene and Vermillion was used to determine oral hygiene status.
Data Analysis: The Epi info (version 6) statistical software was used for data entry validation and analysis. Associations and differences were said to be significant when the p-values were equal to or less than 0.05.
Results: There were more subjects in the 15-19 years and 20-29 years age groups in both epileptic and control groups. Only 25.3% of the epileptics had previously visited a dental clinic compared to 50% in the control group. The mean Oral Hygiene Index scores (OHIS) for epileptic and control groups were 1.89 + 0.758 and 1.55 + 0.864 respectively. The differences in OHI-S and oral hygiene status between the epileptics and control group were statistically significant (p-value <0.05). Within age groups, the oral hygiene index was generally higher in the epileptics than in the control group. The difference was highly significant in the age groups 30-44 years and 55-64 years (P<0.05).
Conclusion: The oral health practices and oral health status of epileptic patients seen in this study was poorer than that of the controls. Improving their oral health awareness through active oral health education may be a means of solving this problem.
Nigerian Journal of Health and Biomedical Sciences Vol. 7 (1) 2008 pp. 59-63