Oral Health Behaviours and Preventive Dental Care Experiences Among Patients with Special Health Care Needs at Special Care Dentistry Clinic, University of Malaya


  • Tay Mern Jo Faculty of Dentistry, University Malaya
  • Chow Chin Ying Faculty of Dentistry, University Malaya
  • Norintan Ab-Murat Department of Community Oral Health and Clinical Prevention, Faculty of Dentistry, University Malaya
  • Maryani Mohamed Rohani Department of Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, University Malaya


special health care needs, oral health behaviour, dietary habits, preventive dental care, special care dentistry, oral hygiene


To assess the oral health behaviour and preventive dental care experiences of patients with special health care needs (SHCN) who attended the Special Care Dental (SCD) Clinic at University of Malaya. Data were collected from 31 patients using a self-administered questionnaire which consisted of questions pertaining to their oral health behaviours and experiences on receiving preventive dental care (PDC). For patients who were unable to answer due to existing health conditions, parents or primary caregivers were approached as proxy. Descriptive analysis was conducted and reported based on percentages to identify the oral health behaviour and PDC of the individuals. Majority brushed their teeth at least once a day (84%), used fluoridated toothpaste (87%) and oral hygiene aids (58%). However, almost half of them (48%) required assistance from parents or caregivers during tooth brushing and consumed sugary snacks in between meals (58%). About 80% had received PDC where the type of care received was mainly oral hygiene advice (77%). Slightly more than 80% preferred the one-to-one demonstration method during PDC. Most gave positive evaluation on their PDC experience especially on items pertaining to the dentist’s attitude. Whilst most of the SHCN patients in this study had positive perception on the PDC that they received and practised good brushing behaviour, their dietary habits need to be improved. Thus, regular preventive dental visit amongst SHCN patients is important for appropriate and comprehensive dental care in maintaining oral health.


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