The Utilization of Oral Hygiene Instructions using Braille Method on Visually Impaired School Children
Background: Poor oral health among visually impaired (VI) children has been reported to associate within effective delivery of oral hygiene (OH) instructions. This study aimed to assess the changes in OH status of a group of VI school-children after implementing OH instructions using verbal and tactile methods with/without the addition of instructions in Braille. Methods: The study was conducted on VI children (13-17 years old) of a Special Education School. The study participants were divided into 2 groups depending on the delivery method of OH instructions: The Non-Braille Group (NBG) and Braille Group (BG). Oral examination was performed and OH instructions given and repeated after 1- month and 3-months. Results: A total of 91 study participants were recruited. The OH status was measured using the OHI-S index. The majority had fair OH status initially (39.6%). The median OHI-S score for NBG and BG had reduced significantly after OH instructions intervention at 1-month (from 1.67 to 1.33 and 1.33 to 1.09) and 3-months intervals (from 1.33 to 1.17 and 1.09 to 0.83), p<0.001 and p<0.001, respectively. After 3-months interval, the BG showed better median OHI-S score than NBG but was not statistically significant (p=0.629). Conclusions: The delivery of OH instructions in the form of verbal and tactile methods with or without Braille instructions is an effective tool and well perceived by the VI children. Continuous reinforcement and motivation at regular intervals are more important to achieve good OH levels in VI individuals.