Oral Health of Children and Adolescents Victims of Maltreatment Housed in Foster Care: A Case-Control Study

Lúcia de Fátima Almeida de Deus Moura, Heloísa Clara Santos Sousa, Cacilda Castelo Branco Lima, Marcoeli Silva de Moura, Teresinha Soares Pereira Lopes, Marina de Deus Moura de Lima


Objective: To compare the oral health condition of children and adolescents victims of maltreatment housed in foster care with that of children and adolescents that have not been victims of maltreatment. Material and Methods: This is a case-control study with children and adolescents that have not been victims of maltreatment. In Group 1, the population was composed of 56 children victims of abuse housed in foster care. Group 2 was composed of an equal number of children and adolescents attending pediatric dentistry clinic at UFPI. Both groups were matched for sex and age. Data collection was divided into two phases: questionnaire application to children’s parents / guardians and clinical examination of the oral cavity. The questionnaire was composed of questions about socioeconomic variables, reasons for admission in the foster care and oral health-related habits. To assess the oral health condition, epidemiological indexes dmft, DMFT and Gingival Bleeding Index (GBI) were determined and soft tissues were inspected to evaluate possible maltreatment sequelae. Results: Neglect was reported as the major cause of entry into the foster care (84%). There were no statistically significant differences between the mean dmft (p=0.240), DMFT (p=0.862) and GBI (p=0.275) values between groups evaluated. No sequelae or lesions characteristic of physical aggression were found; however, all individuals have been institutionalized for more than four months. Conclusion: Child and adolescents victims of maltreatment showed oral health condition similar to that of individuals that have not been victims of maltreatment.


Child abuse; oral manifestations; liability legal; oral health

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