Knowledge, Attitude and Practices Before and After Dental Health Education among Hearing and Speech Impaired Children
Objective: To evaluate the level of dental health awareness, existing status of dental hygiene and extent of compliance to basic dental health education in hearing and speech impaired children. Setting: Govt. higher secondary school of special education for hearing impaired, Faisalabad, where around 300 hearing and speech impaired students from play-group to intermediate are under educational program. Age group: 7-11 years. Sample Size: Total 90 children had mixed dentition stage and were selected because this group is most vulnerable to poor dental health. Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Duration: April-May 2015. Sampling technique: Non-Probability convenient sampling. Methodology: Under the supervision of their parents and teachers, using their sign language to communicate, the children were assessed for their knowledge about dental health through a pretested and close ended questionnaire and their prevailing oral hygiene status especially their gingival health was examined visually. Any sign of gingival inflammation with glazing, redness, edema and/or hypertrophy was marked as gingivitis. Followed by a session of basic dental health education, which was delivered to these differently-abled (deaf) children through specially designed presentations with maximum picture and video messages, which were easy for them to understand. After 45 days, re-examination was done to find out the percentage improvement in their gingival health. Results: Of the total 90 children, 66 of them had never visited a dentist for a routine dental check-up. Yet 47 of them had a good knowledge that dental brushing prevented tooth decay, but only 25 children knew that sweets causes dental decay and only 18 were aware that fizzy drinks adversely affects the teeth. On oral examination, 61.11% of these children were found to have compromised gingival health status; gingivitis. When after they were given basic dental health education and examined again on 45th day, number of children having gingivitis dropped to only 28.88%, indicating that 32.22% of these hearing and speech impaired children having poor gingival health previously, showed up improvements. Conclusion: Comprehensive oral health awareness education to these children can largely bring a change in their knowledge, attitudes and practices in maintaining dental health.