Pesquisa Odontológica Brasileira
Print version ISSN 1517-7491
POMARICO, Luciana; SOUZA, Ivete Pomarico Ribeiro de and TURA, Luiz Fernando Rangel. Oral health profile of education and health professionals attending handicapped children. Pesqui. Odontol. Bras. [online]. 2003, vol.17, n.1, pp. 11-16. ISSN 1517-7491. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-74912003000100003.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the knowledge and attitudes toward oral health of education and health professionals working in a children care program for handicapped children from 0 to 6 years of age, run by a public municipal institution in Rio de Janeiro. Using a printed questionnaire, 67 professionals (teachers, attendants and health professionals) were interviewed. The results were compared to the children's oral hygiene habits, by directly observing their daily nursery routine. Although 97.0% said that oral health could play a part in general health, only 37.3% of the professionals answered correctly on this matter. As for methods for preventing caries, although 92.5% said that they were aware of them, only 17.9% went to the dentist for preventive treatment. Although the majority (81.3%) indicated oral hygiene as a way of preventing caries, observation showed that this practice is not always put into effect in the program's day nursery. Regarding when to start toothbrushing in children, 75.0% of the teachers and 94.4% of the health professionals said that they were aware of the need to begin brushing before one year of age, although this reply was given by only 52.5% of the attendants (chi-square, p = 0.006). In view of these results, it was concluded that attitudes toward oral health were not always coherent with the knowledge that these professionals express.
Keywords : School health services; Education [dental]; Oral health; Oral hygiene; Disabled children.