Mst Mostary Zannath
Atish Dipanker University of Science and Technology (ADUST), Bangladesh
Background: Food and nutrition affects the teeth during development and malnutrition and it may exacerbate periodontal and oral infectious diseases. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the oral health and nutritional status of Early Head Start Children aged 2 to 5 years who attained the clinical nutrition unit of Institute of Public Health Nutrition. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted conveniently among a total of 384 early head start children aged 2 to 5 years attained at IPHN. Data was collected by face-to-face interview. A pretested structured questionnaire was used and oral clinical examination was performed by following standard appropriate techniques and tools. Results: The mean age of the respondents was 36 months with the standard deviation of ±13 months. Majority (41%) of the children were in the age group around 24 to 59 months. Almost all (97.7%) the children cleaned their teeth regularly. Common oral health problems found among the children were Plaque (47%), gum bleeding (11%), gingivitis (14%), swelling of gum (3.9%) and pain or infection with gross caries (23.2%). About 17% of children had the history of previous gum bleeding. Regarding the nutrition level of the children, 6.2% boys and 6.8% of girls had normal nutritional status whereas rests of the respondents were malnourished. Among the malnourished children more than half (54.7%) of the girls and almost one third (28.9%) of boys were suffered from mild malnutrition. Significantly higher proportion of unclean teeth and gum bleeding were found among the children whose mother were illiterate (p=0.001), having low family income (p =0.001 and p=0.005) and having large family size (p=0.001 and p=0.01 respectively). But no significant association was found between Nutritional Status and Oral Health problems. Conclusion: The study concludes that almost all the children clean their teeth regularly.