Abstract: Aim To determine oral and dental problems in children who are receiving long term intravenous nutrition at home.
Materials and methods Design: Children who had been at home on parenteral nutrition (PN) for a period of at least 3 months were recruited from the intestinal failure clinic database of a large tertiary nutrition centre. The parents were contacted by email, face to face or telephone and asked to fill in a questionnaire. Information about the PN, enteral nutrition, type of feeding in infancy, weaning, dental and oral problems was collected.
Results A total of 35 patients were identified, of which 28 participated in the study. The age of the children ranged from 1-18 years with a median age of 5.5 years. The average duration of PN administration was 4.3 years. Just over half were also orally fed and three quarters had a history of breast and/or bottle feeding in infancy. Around 60% of children reported oral problems including teeth staining (29%), gum infections (11%), teeth decay and delayed dentition (16%). 68% regularly visited the dentist at 2-12 monthly intervals.
Conclusion In comparison to the general UK paediatric population, oral and dental problems occurred less commonly in our study group of children on HPN, unlike adult patients on intravenous nutrition where poor oral health was much more prominent compared to the general public. However the overall prevalence was similar in the adult and paediatric age group receiving long-term HPN highlighting the need for specific health advice in this patient group.