Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown on Oral Health and Behaviour Change among Children in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia
Dr. Intisar Ahmad Siddiqui,
Building No. 7404, Petromin King Faisa Road, Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia.
Introduction: The Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been concomitant to a number of alterations in children’s dental health. The indoor activities and intermittent eating during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown had an impact on oral hygiene practices and behavioural change in children.
Aim: To assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on oral health and behaviour change among children in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Dammam Specialised Dental Center, Dammam, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia, from 6th October 2021 to 8th March 2022, among 510 children. A well-structured questionnaire consisting of 24 closed-end items related to socio-demographic data, children’s behavioural change during lockdown and oral health practices in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia was tailored. All parents or legal guardians of children aged between 6 and 12 years old were asked to sign a written informed permission to complete a questionnaire voluntarily. Statistical analysis was executed by using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 22.0 (IBM Product, USA).
Results: Of 510 children to be evaluated for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, 284 (55.7%) mothers, 209 (41%) fathers, and 17 (3.3%) caregivers were the respondents. Although one-half of the children 273 (53.5%) had no change in oral health attention, 72 (14.1%) had increased, while 165 (32.5%) had decreased oral health attention during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. There were three significant predictors of children’s oral health behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown including frequency of tooth brushing increased (OR=18.7), decreased brushing (OR=28.3), consumption of sugary meals (OR=4.6), and noticing of caries, toothache, bad breath, bleeding/ swelling of the gingiva (OR=3.1).
Conclusion: Study findings demonstrated that the COVID-19 pandemic caused considerable behavioural and psychological alterations in children. The frequency of brushing, dental visits, and sugar consumption all decreased significantly.