Self-Awareness of Oral Health Needs in Hemophilia Patients

Tanaka, Takako, Rose Geist, and Angela Lambing

This project is designed to investigate the self-awareness of oral health needs in hemophilia patients in order to plan an oral health care program for patients with hemophilia. Most hemophilia patients have a good medical health care program to take care of bleeding episodes and their complications. Hemophilia patients often control oral bleeding by self infusion of factor products. However, the risk of high-titer inhibitors makes the treatment of bleeding episodes in hemophilia patients difficult and costly. Mouth bleeding can easily be minimized by good oral health prevention measures.  Self awareness of oral health care needs of patients with hemophilia is either unknown or unpublished. This makes it difficult to plan a care program to promote oral health and prevent mouth bleeding.  This study investigates the current status of self-awareness of oral health care needs among patients with hemophilia. The hypothesis is that the majority of patients have a high awareness of how oral health contributes to bleeding episodes and complications, and have their oral health needs managed by family dentists.  Twenty five patients with hemophilia under the care of the Hemophilia Clinic in Henry Ford Hospital participated in this study.  Each patient will be interviewed regarding bleeding episodes and types of dental care that patients believe they need. Our preliminary data shows that 67% go to their family dentist for regular care. Of the 21 patients, only one patient used Factor VIII for gingival bleeding in the past year.  If our hypothesis proves to be true, it suggests that hemophilia patients have a good understanding that oral health can minimize bleeding episodes and that they are vigilant about their oral health care. If our hypothesis proves to be false, then an easy access oral health care program should be established to provide oral health screening and care for patients with hemophilia.