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Srpski arhiv za celokupno lekarstvo 2007 Volume 135, Issue 3-4, Pages: 167-173
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Health habits, attitudes and behavior towards oral health of children with epilepsy

Jovanović Svetlana, Gajić Ivanka

Introduction: Children suffering from epilepsy are high at risk of oral diseases primarily due to their underlying medical condition which can have an impact on the maintenance level of oral hygiene, but also due to adverse effects of antiepileptic drugs. Objective. The aim of this paper was to identify habits, attitudes and behavior of children with epilepsy and parents in respect to oral health. Method. The experimental group consisted of 50 children with epilepsy, 24 boys and 26 girls, 7-14 years old, mean age 11.2±2.2 years. The control group consisted of healthy children, matched by age and gender. The instruments of investigation consisted of the structured interview of children and parents concerning oral health habits, attitudes and behavior. We used medical records of children with epilepsy as a source of information on their diagnosis, duration of the illness and current therapy. Statistical analysis was performed by chi-squared test, nonparametric correlation, Wilcoxon’s signed rank test and logistic regression. Results. Results showed that more children with epilepsy and their parents had inappropriate habits and attitudes towards oral health, as well as nutrition habits (p<0.001). Compared to healthy controls, children with epilepsy washed their teeth less often and shorter, they had less knowledge about causes of oral diseases and about influence of oral diseases on general health, and they had worse self-rating of teeth and gum condition. In addition, significantly more children with epilepsy used an incorrect technique of teeth brushing (p<0.001). Characteristics of children’s epilepsy and educational degree of parents had no influence on these differences. Conclusion. Study results showed that children with epilepsy and their parents had worse habits, attitudes and behavior towards oral health than healthy controls and their parents. This difference can be explained primarily by worse parental estimation of oral health and behavior towards oral health in comparison to parents of healthy controls. .

Keywords: health education, oral health, children, epilepsy

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