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Researchers find effective way to teach visually impaired children oral hygiene

The best method of educating visually impaired children on oral health is by using a combination of different stimuli, a study has found. (Photograph: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

Dental Tribune International

Wed. 15. May 2019


BELAGAVI, India: An adapted approach is required to train children with visual impairment in oral hygiene and to motivate them to care for their teeth regularly. Researchers at the KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research in Belagavi have tested different approaches to oral hygiene training and compared their effectiveness.

For the study, 90 visually impaired children between the ages of 12 and 15 were selected and randomly assigned to three equal groups. The first group was trained with verbal and tactile stimuli and playful teaching methods, the second one was trained using braille, while the third group received a combination of these two approaches.

The researchers tested the dental hygiene of the children by assessing plaque and gingival status at different intervals. The first assessment was after 21 days and the final one took place after nine months. In addition, before and after the training, the children had to fill out questionnaires which recorded their knowledge and practice of oral hygiene and their attitude towards it.

The researchers found that the combined hygiene training in the third group reduced the children’s plaque and gingival scores by 55 and 52 per cent compared with the other two groups. In addition, not only did the children’s practical implementation improve, but their knowledge of the subject and their attitude towards it did too.

The study, titled “Effectiveness of different oral health education interventions in visually impaired school children”, was published in the March 2019 issue of Special Care in Dentistry.

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