Oral health may serve as an indicator of overall systemic health, with each disease or condition manifesting differently in the oral cavity. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a genetic disorder in which sickled red blood cells cause blood vessel occlusion and potentially bleeding in specific sites (e.g., gastrointestinal and intracranial bleeding). With SCD being one of the most common hereditary diseases in the world, it is essential to understand the disease and improve awareness to better treat this population. While studies have been done to evaluate the oral health of persons with SCD, few have explored the occurrence of gingival bleeding and their experience with dental care. Due to this gap in the literature, the present study investigates the potential relationship between SCD, gingival bleeding, and certain other oral manifestations. Adults with and without SCD responded to an online questionnaire regarding oral health and dental care. The data was collected and analyzed during the 2022 spring semester. The data collected from Qualtrics was downloaded into JASP for statistical analysis. While there was a greater prevalence of gingival bleeding and caries in those with SCD, analysis of the sample showed no significant association between the oral manifestations and SCD. A deeper subgroup analysis suggested that those with SCD and no employment may be at higher risk for dental caries, orofacial pain, and gingival bleeding. Further investigation is necessary to determine the direct effect of the disease. The findings may justify further studies to include clinical evaluations by oral health care providers and larger quantity of participants. A better understanding of the relationship between SCD and oral health may lead to oral hygiene improvement strategies geared explicitly toward persons with SCD.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Health Professions and Sciences
Roa, Natalie, "The Impact of Sickle Cell Disease on Gingival Bleeding and Oral Health of Adults" (2022). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1281.