Gingival health in children in the different phases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of leukemia in children, has diverse oral cavity complications. While periodontal alterations in such patients are widely known, there were no studies evaluating gingival health from the time of diagnosis to the remission phase. In our study, we, therefore, analysed the frequency of periodontal diseases and the gingival indices in the different phases of ALL in children. Children aged 7-15 years were involved into the cross-sectional study. Therein, 160 children with ALL were divided into three groups: L1 – 50 children examined before the initiation phase, L2 – 50 children examined after 1 month of the chemotherapy, L3 – 60 children examined in permanent hematologic remission. The control (HC) included 150 healthy children. The L1, L2 and L3 groups had significantly worse gingival indices and frequency of gingivitis than the HC group (p < 0.0001). Frequency of gingivitis increased from before the initiation to the remission phase, but significantly only in 7-11 year-old children (p = 0.0004). Gingival indices increased after 1 month of chemotherapy (p < 0.0001), but decreased in the permanent remission phase (p < 0.0001).

Our study stresses the need for children with ALL to not only require prevention courses before the initiation and during the chemotherapy phases, but also in the permanent remission phase to minimize the long-term impact of leukemia treatment on gingival health.

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