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Self-medication practices by parents in children for dental conditions

Author: 
Amrita Nayyar and Anand K. Tavargeri
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: Oral health is often neglected. Over the years, there has been an increase in the practice of self-medication (SM) with non-prescription (over-the-counter) drugs for dental problems. With regard to paediatric patients, such practices are entirely under the control of the parent. Pharmacokinetics of drugs vary in children due to their unique physiology. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to select appropriate medication and dosage for children, as dosing errors in paediatric patients may cause fatal complications. Aim: To assess self-medication practices by parents in children for various dental conditions. Method: A cross sectional questionnaire survey was carried out in parents of patients aged up to 14 years reporting to the outpatient department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry. Data was collected using a self-structured questionnaire to record demographic information and various aspects of self-medication by parents in children for dental problems. Results: 61% of the parents self-medicated their children for dental conditions. A statistically significant relation of self-medication practice with age (χ2=135.4105, p=0.0001), gender (χ2=105.8601, p=0.0001) and socioeconomic status (SM) (χ2=220.0210, p=0.0001) was found. Self-medication was most prevalent in the females, age group 4-8 years and in the lower socioeconomic status. Conclusion: SM is widely practiced by parents for treating dental conditions in their children. Thus, the need of the hour is to create awareness among the parents and thereby encourage appropriate drugs usage in children.

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