Prevalence of dental caries and associated risk factors in children living with disabilities in Rwanda: a cross-sectional study

Pan Afr Med J. 2020 Jul 17:36:193. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2020.36.193.24166. eCollection 2020.


Introduction: several studies have been done on children with disabilities, and the results have shown that these particular individuals are more prone to developing various abnormal oral conditions. However, little is known about the oral health conditions among children with disabilities in Rwanda. This study aims to determine the prevalence of dental caries and associated risk factors among children with disabilities.

Methods: a cross-sectional study conducted among 226 randomly selected children living with physical disabilities; learning, intellectual and developmental disabilities; deafness, blindness and hearing impairment disabilities aged between 7 and 20 years old, who live and/or are under the care of NYANZA Home de la Vierge des Pauvres (HVP) GATAGARA. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were done using SPPS version 20 at 95% confidence interval. The significance level was set at p<0.05.

Results: the prevalence of dental caries found in children with disabilities is 42.4%. In bivariate analysis age (p=0.003), frequency of sugary food consumption (p=0.001) and oral hygiene status (p=0.000) are respectively significantly associated with dental caries. In logistic regression model, children who take once or more times per day sugary food like biscuits, cake, chocolates and sweets are almost 6 times higher at risk of developing dental caries [OR: 5.945, CI: 1.187; 29.774, P=0.03) while a good oral hygiene status was protective against dental caries [OR: 0.296, CI: 0.159; 0.550, P=0.000].

Conclusion: dental caries is a reality among children living with disabilities. Appropriate measures should be taken to protect these children and these measures should mainly focus on identified factors.

Keywords: Dental caries; Rwanda; child; disability.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology*
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oral Health / standards*
  • Oral Hygiene / standards*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Rwanda / epidemiology
  • Young Adult