Oral Health Problems in Leukaemic Paediatric Patients in the United Arab Emirates: A Retrospective Study
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Aims: The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of oral health problems in leukaemic paediatric patients in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and correlate it to the phase of chemotherapy. Materials and Methods: Medical records of 120 of paediatric leukaemic patients (age below 15) in the UAE were reviewed for the occurrence of oral health problems. Records from the three main hospitals that provide cancer therapy were accessed after obtaining the required ethical approvals. Results: The overall oral sequelae prevalence in leukaemic patients in our study was 60%. The most common oral health problem recorded in the patients’ records was oral mucositis and ulceration followed by dental caries and oral candidiasis that accounted for 52.4%, 18.3%, and 14.2% of reported cases respectively. Other oral health problems recorded were gingivitis and gingival bleeding, herpetic gingivostomatitis, dental caries, poor oral hygiene, and facial palsy. The peak incidence of occurrence of most oral problems was during phase IV (maintenance). Conclusion: Our study highlighted important oral complications of leukaemic paediatric patients in the UAE that were not studied previously. Oral health problems as a result of leukaemia and its management are variable and are unavoidable. Close liaison between the oncology and dental teams is essential. Moreover, this study highlighted the importance of supportive care for this group of patients that can help minimize the oral adverse effects of the disease and its treatment, thus improving the oral health-related quality of life (H-RQL) of these patients.