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Objective. The aim of this paper is to examine the oral health of children attending a diabetes camp. Despite studies showing diabetes to be a risk factor for periodontitis on the one hand and periodontitis having been shown to affect glycemic control and increase the risk for developing complications among diabetic patients, oral health is only beginning to receive much needed attention as an important aspect of general health in diabetic patients.
Methodology. A simple count of the number of decayed, missing, and filled teeth was performed and added to come up with the Decayed Missing and Filled Teeth index (DMFT).
Periodontal examination was performed using a Community Periodontal Index of Treatment Needs (CPITN) probe. Pocket probing was performed on six sites (mesiobuccal, mid-buccal, distobuccal, mesiolingual, mid-lingual, and distolingual) on each tooth. The teeth were then scored on a scale of 0–4 similar to the CPITN method of the World Health Organization.
Results. The proportion of participants with dental caries was 72% (18) with a mean number of decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) of 4.6. 5 (20%) of the participants had a DMFT score of 0, meaning that they have no decayed missing or filled teeth while 10 (40%) either already had permanent teeth extracted. or required tooth extraction for non-restorable, severely decayed permanent teeth. Periodontitis (Pockets > 3.5 mm; CPITN = 4) was found in only 1 (4%) patient. 21 (84%) of the participants either had a CPITN score of 1 or 2, meaning bleeding upon probing or calcular deposits were observed. 3 (12%) had a CPITN score of 0.
Conclusions. Diabetes camps are a good place to screen oral health problems among type 1 diabetic patients given the different socio-economic factors, levels of concern for oral health, and availability of dental care providers among families of with type 1 diabetic children. Physicians managing type 1 diabetics should motivate their patients to see the dentist twice a year for preventive visits and strongly encourage them to have treatment when dental diseases are present. An oral exam should be part of the cursory examination performed by physicians handling these patients.
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