Oral health problems in leukaemic paediatric patients in the United Arab Emirates: A retrospective study
Alnuaimi, Eman H
El Halabi, Manal
Kowash, Mawlood B
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Aim: 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 paediatric leukaemic patients (age below 15 years) 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 permissions. Results: The overall prevalence of oral health problems in leukaemic patients in our study is 60%. The most common oral health problem recorded in the patients’ records was oral mucositis and ulceration (52.4%) followed by dental caries and oral candidiasis accounting for 18.3% and 14.2% respectively. Other oral health problems recorded were gingivitis and gingival bleeding, herpetic gingivostomatitis, poor oral hygiene, and facial palsy. The peak occurrence of most oral problems was during phase IV (maintenance). Oral health problems were more common among patients who received treatment and follow-up locally rather than abroad. Statistics: Collected data were analysed using statistical software International Business Machines (IBM) Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS, version 20, Chicago, SPSS Inc). Descriptive statistics were performed to describe the characteristics of the study population. The association between oral health problems and other risk factors was analysed using the Chi-squared test. A P-value of <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Conclusion: This is the first study to describe oral health problems and its correlation to the phase of chemotherapy in leukaemic paediatric patients in the UAE. Oral health problems as a result of leukaemia and its management are both variable and unavoidable. Therefore, oral and dental care is of critical importance in maintaining the overall wellbeing of the patient before, during, and after treatment. This can be achieved by close liaison between the oncology and dental teams.