S Anila1, RS Dhanya2, Archana A Thomas3, TI Rejeesh2, K Jeffy Cherry2
1Department of Periodontics, PSM College of Dental Science and Research, Thrissur, India.
2Department of Public Health Dentistry, PSM College of Dental Science and Research, Thrissur, India.
3Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, St. Gregorios Dental College, Ernakulam, Kerala, India.
DOI: 10.4103/jnsbm.JNSBM_14_18


Aim: The present study was conducted to determine the prevalence of harmful oral habits among 4–13-year-old children in relation to their age and gender, in a dental college hospital in Central Kerala, India. Methods: A retrospective survey was conducted in 1034 children (478 males and 556 females) aged between 4 and 13 years. The participants were checked for the prevalence of oral habits in relation to their age and gender. Information regarding oral habits was obtained with the help of a questionnaire and clinical evaluation using mouth mirror and water tests. Chi-square test was used in the statistical analysis. Results: Overall prevalence of oral habits was 72.7% in the study participants. Nearly 47.1% of the children had only one habit, whereas 19.1% had two habits and 5.5% had three or more habits. Mouth breathing was the most commonly reported oral habit (29.4%), followed by tongue thrusting (23.5%), nail biting (20%), thumb-sucking (17%), pencil biting (8.7%), bruxism (4.9%), and lip/cheek biting (4.5%). Nail biting was reported significantly more in females and bruxism significantly more in males. Prevalence of thumb-sucking was very high in younger children (4–8 years) compared to older children (9–13 years). Conclusion: The prevalence of oral habits among 4–13–year-old children is very high in Central Kerala, compared to children in other Indian populations. Since oral habits can be intercepted and prevented, creating awareness regarding the adverse outcomes of oral habits is highlighted.

Keywords: Child, Habits, Mouth breathing, Oral health, Prevalence.

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