Objective: To investigate the dental caries status and periodontal status of disabled children and adolescents aged 0 to 18 years in China and provide suggestions for future policies.
Methods: The cross-sectional survey included disabled children and adolescents aged 0 to 18 years in welfare institutions across 10 provinces in eastern, central and western regions in China, between November 2013 and May 2015. Oral health examination included dental caries status and periodontal status. The mean score for decayed, missing and filled teeth (dmft/ DMFT) due to caries in primary/permanent dentition, gingival bleeding rate and calculus rate were recorded and statistically evaluated. Data analysis was performed using SPSS 24.0 software (IBM, Armonk, NY, USA), and the level of statistical significance was P < 0.05.
Results: The mean dmft/DMFT values of for groups aged 0 to 5, 6 to 12 and 13 to 18 years were 1.48 ± 3.00, 2.19 ± 2.94 and 1.78 ± 2.93, respectively. The mean scores for the groups aged 0 to 5 (P < 0.05) and 13 to 18 years (P < 0.01) showed a significant difference among different disability types. A significant difference between sexes was found only in the group aged 0 to 5 years (P < 0.05). Gingival bleeding rates were 13.70% for the group aged 0 to 5 years, 24.81% for the group aged 6 to 12 years and 42.06% for the group aged 13 to 18 years, and calculus rates were 5.48%, 22.41% and 47.62% for the three age groups, respectively. The gingival bleeding rate for all three age groups showed a significant difference between different disability types (P < 0.01), whereas calculus rates a showed significant difference only in the groups aged 6 to 12 and 13 to 18 years (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: The prevalence of dental caries, gingival bleeding and calculus in disabled children and adolescents in China is high. Disability type was strongly associated with oral health status. Specially designed oral health education and training are necessary for clinical professionals and caregivers.