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Oral health and nutritional Status of Preschool-Aged Children in Maiduguri, North-East, Nigeria

West Afr J Med. 2023 Nov 30;40(11):1173-1180.


BACKGROUND: The most prevalent oral diseases, dental caries and periodontal disease, result in pain, discomfort, and loss of oral functions, often leading to poor nutrition.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the prevalence and relationship between oral health and nutritional status among children aged 2 to 5 years in Maiduguri, North-East Nigeria.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study that assessed caries experience, gingival status and nutritional status of children. Anthropometric measurements of weight-for-age and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) were used to assess nutritional status. Participants were randomly selected from three private schools. The MUAC was measured using a standardised tape rule. The weight-for-age by sex of the participants was extrapolated from the weight-for-age WHO chart. Oral health was assessed using the WHO Oral Health Survey Methods. Data were analysed using SPSS for Windows (version 23). Statistical significance was placed at 95% confidence and p ≤ 0.05.

RESULTS: There were 239 participants with a male:female ratio of 1.2:1 (SE=0.03). Mean dmft was 0.72 (SE 0.09) and 63.2% had healthy gingiva (SE 0.04). The mean weight was 16.8kg (SE=0.15) and mean MUAC was 15.3 cm. Caries prevalence was associated with nutritional status and positively correlated (r=0.03, P=0.64). Gingival status was associated but inversely correlated with MUAC (r= -0.02, P= 0.76).

CONCLUSION: Normal nutritional status was associated with no caries prevalence and healthy gingiva. Underweight was associated with caries prevalence. Adequate and healthy nutrition promotes good oral health in children.


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