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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Oral-health status of children and adolescents with adverse childhood experiences : a pilot study with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver Bahri Iraei , Tila


Objectives: Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) such as poverty, parental substance use and parental incarceration can have negative influences on the physical and mental growth and development of children. The Elizabeth Fry (EFry) Society of Greater Vancouver, which provides a variety of services to children impacted by ACE in British Columbia, expressed interest in knowing about the oral health status of the clients they serve, so that appropriate support and services could be developed as needed. The objectives of this study were to document oral-health-related behaviours of children and youth who receive services from EFry, asses and describe their current oral-health status and explore relationships between a variety of study variables including demographics (age, gender, ethnicity), social characteristics (parent in justice system), and health behaviours and oral health status. Methods: Children and adolescents from a summer camp operated by EFry completed socio-demographic and oral- health -behaviour questionnaires. A clinical examination including an assessment of dental status (dmft/DMFT), oral hygiene status (DI-S) and gingival status (GI) was conducted on each participant. Analysis included descriptive statistics, as well as bivariate tests to determine relationships between dental health status and a variety of study variables. Results: The 67 participants of this study, aged 6 to 16 years of age, had a mean dmft /DMFT of 3.64 with 78% having at least one decayed, missed or filled tooth. About one-fifth (19%) of children and one-third of adolescents (35%) had received fissure sealants. Of the participants, 21% and 75% had mild or moderate gingival inflammation respectively. The majority of children and adolescents (69%) had minimal tooth debris and 28% had moderate debris. No statistically significant relationship was found between dmft/DMFT and any of the study variables, including oral health behaviours. Conclusion: For this limited small volunteer sample of EFry children and adolescents, no relationship was found between any participant characteristics and oral health status. The participants appear to be receiving needed definitive dental care however, preventive measures, specifically fissure sealants were lacking. A greater emphasis on preventive care for these children may help to ensure future oral health.

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