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Prevalence of Parafunctional Oral Habits in 7 to 15 Years Old Schoolchildren in Saudi Arabia

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of parafunctional oral habits in school children in Saudi Arabia.

Methods: A cross-sectional study conducted in October 2015. Sample included 507 children ranged in age from 7 to 15 years old who were attending private/ government schools in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia using systematic random sampling. Data was recorded by anamnestic questionnaire. Clinical examination was carried out by 6 examiners following WHO guidelines to detect the presence and the type of parafunctional oral habits. Questionnaire included personal data and presence or absence of oral habits like tongue thrust, mouth breathing, and thumb sucking. All examiners took part in a course on the methods of "Functional Analysis" breathing and sucking habits. The interview and examination of a single study subject took 3 to 4 min. Prevalence rates of different oral habits studied were calculated. Chi-square test was done to compare the prevalence of oral habits among different sexes with a cutoff point of (p<0.05).

Results: Sample consisted of 190 (37.5%) males and 317(62.5%) females. Tongue thrusting showed out to be the most prevalent oral habit (25.0%) followed by thumb sucking (21.1%). However, mouth breathing (12.0%) was found to be the least prevalent oral habit. Thumb sucking and mouth breathing was more prevalent in males while tongue thrusting was more prevalent in females.

Conclusion: There is an increased prevalence of oral habits among schoolchildren in Saudi Arabia.


Arshad A Abbasi, Omar H Alkadhi, Sultan Q AlHobail, Amal S AlYami, Tareq M AlSarhani and Najmah AlMejlad

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