Oral health status and reasons for not attending dental care among 12- to 16-year-old children with Down syndrome in special needs centres in Jordan

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Objectives:The objective of this study was to assess oral health status, treatment needs, soft and hard tissue findings, as well as reasons for not attending dental care among children with Down syndrome (DS) registered in special needs centres in Jordan. Methods: The sample consisted of a total of 206 participants with a mean age of 13.66 ± 1.47 comprising 103 with DS and 103 age- and gender-matched non-DS/public school children. Clinical levels of oral hygiene were assessed using Simplified Oral hygiene index, and caries detection was carried out according to WHO caries recording criteria. Results: Children who had DS had a significantly higher percentage of surfaces with severe gingival index (39.9 ± 9.1 versus 15.9 ± 8.0, P < 0.001) and a higher mean of probing pocket depth than children without DS (2.27 ± 0.2 versus 1.81 ± 0.32, P < 0.000). Significantly more peg-shaped maxillary lateral incisors and retained primary teeth (P < 0.001) were observed in subjects with DS, compared with non-DS children. Average decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) was significantly lower in male children with DS compared with male non-DS children only (P = 0.034). The most common reason cited for not taking children to the dentist for DS group was ‘Not aware of the dental problems of their children’ and for non-DS groups ‘No awareness of the importance of dental visit’ (61.2% and 53%, respectively). Conclusions: While having similar caries level, Jordanian teenagers with DS had more dental anomalies, poorer periodontal health and less dental attendance than age- and gender-matched non-DS/public school children.

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