Objectives: To assess the oral health status and treatment needs of Iruliga tribal community residing at Ramanagara District, Karnataka, India.
Methods: The total population of 2605 Iruligas residing at 26 villages of Ramanagara District was included for the study. Data were collected using World Health Organization (WHO) 1997 ‘Oral Health Assessment Form’. Examination was done under good natural light using a mouth mirror and community periodontal index (CPI) probe.
Results: The total study population was 2605, comprising 1545 males and 1060 females in the age group of 1–80 years with the mean age of 30.56 ± 19.51. The majority of Iruligas (79.8%) used chew sticks as an oral hygiene aid. Subjects with leukoplakia were found to be 3 (0.12). The most commonly seen enamel opacity/hypoplasia was diffuse opacity affecting 930 (35.7%) subjects. A mild form of dental fluorosis affected 1658 (63.65%) subjects. Subjects with bleeding were only 4.22%; subjects with calculus were 57.9%; those with shallow pockets (4–5 mm) were 22.0% and subjects with deep pockets (≥ 6 mm) were 3.67%. The prevalence of dental caries among Iruligas was found to be 7.52%. The mean number of decayed, missing, filled (DMF) permanent teeth per person was 0.55 ± 0.1. Definite malocclusion, which required elective treatment, was noted in 14.1%. Iruligas with need for referral were found to be 29.94% (n = 780) according to the various treatment needs required for different oral diseases.
Conclusion: This study revealed less prevalence of oral diseases among Iruligas, highlighting the role of good oral health practices prevalent among this isolated population.