Institution: * School of Dental Sciences, ** School of Clinical Medical Sciences,
*** Centre for Health Services Research, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
and ª Division of Dentistry, Glasgow University, United Kingdom
Publication: European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry
Title: The dental attitudes, knowledge and health practices of patients with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Abstract: Aim To investigate the dental attitudes, knowledge and dental health practices of children and adults with a previous diagnosis of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). Study Design A self-completion questionnaire. Methods Ninety-one children and 82 adults with JIA were age and gender matched with 152 healthy controls. For those below the age of 16 years, the parents’ attitude, knowledge and dental health practices were investigated by the questionnaire. The adult subjects and controls completed an identical questionnaire assessing their own attitude, knowledge and dental health practices. Results Response rates of 84% and 75% were achieved for the subject and controls respectively. Both groups responded similarly to questions assessing perception of different medical conditions. The majority of respondents thought leukaemia was a very serious condition. Twenty-seven percent of subjects and 34% of controls felt dental decay was ‘slightly or not serious’. Ninety percent of subjects and 93% of controls knew having sweet snacks during the day would harm teeth, but fewer were sure that eating sweet foods at mealtimes only would help reduce decay. The majority of respondents (63% and 56% respectively) did not know whether children should receive fluoride tablets but the majority of subjects in both groups had attended a dentist within the last year. Statistics Descriptive analyses and chi-squared analysis were undertaken. A p-value of ?0.01 was taken as strong evidence of a difference between groups. Conclusion The perception of health and illness by both groups was appropriate. The questions investigating dental knowledge revealed understanding of the basic messages of prevention of dental disease, but finer detail appeared less well understood. Responses concerning dental health confirmed positive attitudes towards good dental health habits. The benefits of brushing with fluoride toothpaste were known, and the majority toothbrushed daily and received dental care within the previous year.