Purpose: The aim of the present study was to compare and assess the oral health status of 12-year-old children from two socially disadvantaged groups in the Udupi district of South India. Materials and Methods: A total of 327 children were examined in Ashrama schools, and 340 children were randomly selected for comparison from other government schools. Modified WHO proforma was used for clinical examination. Oral hygiene practices, dental fluorosis, periodontal status, dentition status and dentofacial anomalies were assessed and compared. Chi square test was used for comparison between categorical variables and Mann–Whitney test for comparison between two groups for quantitative variables. P u 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. Results: Dental fluorosis was detected in 22.9% children from Ashrama schools, whereas in the comparison group 14.4% children had dental fluorosis (P u 0.001). Mean Decayed teeth and DMFT value in Ashrama school children were 1.15 ± 1.62, and 1.15 ± 1.62, respectively. In the comparison group, the corresponding values were 0.46 ± 0.98 and 0.48 ± 1.04, respectively (P u 0.001). The mean number of sextants in the Ashrama school children with Community Periodontal Index score 2 was 2.00 ± 1.53, whereas in the comparison group it was 1.31 ± 1.53 (P u 0.001). No significant differences were noted between two groups with respect to Dental Aesthetic Index scores. Conclusions: The present study revealed higher levels of dental caries experience, untreated dental disease and social disadvantage of the children attending Ashrama schools, providing evidence for the need to address the health inequalities of these children.
Keywords: dental care for children, oral health, social indicators