Title: Oral health status in liver transplant Italian children
Abstract: Aim The aim of this study was to assess the oral health status in children submitted to liver transplantation in order to evaluate the need to promote suitable dental caries prevention programmes.
Methods Thirty-eight children submitted to liver transplantation (4-5 years) were selected and their data were compared to those of an age-matched control healthy group of 78 children. Clinical examinations were carried out and X-ray bitewings were taken, in order to record caries prevalence, caries experience, periodontal health and dental enamel defects. A questionnaire investigating demographic and oral health behaviour data was completed by parents.
Results Caries prevalence was 78.9% in the liver transplantation group and 39.7% in the healthy control group. The dmft mean value was 2.26±2.25 in the liver transplantation group and 0.69±1.51 in the healthy group. The difference in the mean dmft between the two groups was statistically significant (p<0.0001). From the elaboration of the data on periodontal health it resulted that 23.7% of the liver transplantation subjects and 48.7% of controls had a healthy periodontal status, respectively; 39.5% of the liver transplantation children and 23.6% of the controls had plaque and calculus. In addition, 44.7% of the liver transplantation patients and 28.2% of the control subjects showed bleeding on probing. In the liver transplantation subjects there was a higher prevalence (65.8%) of dental enamel defects with respect to the healthy group (21.8%).
Conclusion The high prevalence of caries and gingival diseases showed the need to promote specific dental caries prevention programmes in liver transplant children.