‘Yoga can help autistic children maintain good oral hygiene’

A study led by the paediatric dentistry unit of Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences, under the Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, has shown that yoga training can help children with autism improve oral hygiene. Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Yoga training can be effectively used to help children with autism maintain good standards of oral hygiene, according to a study led by the Department of Pediatric & Preventive Dentistry at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Dental Sciences (IGIDS), under the Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV).

The research was part of a project led by R. Eswari, postgraduate student (MDS) of the department, that aimed to evaluate whether yoga could be an adjunct to regular training methods in training brushing skills for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and maintaining a good oral hygiene status.

In the study, 72 children with ASD between the age groups 7-15 years were selected and divided into two groups where group I received visual pedagogy and video modelling, while group II received visual pedagogy and video modelling along with yoga therapy. Plaque and gingival indices were recorded at baseline and at the end of the first, second, third, and sixth month.

“There were significant improvements in both the scores at the end of the second, third and sixth months with the yoga trained subjects demonstrating better oral hygiene,” said Dr. Easwari.

The findings, which intersect yoga therapy and dentistry, came out as a paper publication, “Yoga therapy as an adjunct to traditional tooth brushing training methods in children with autism spectrum disorder” in a recent edition of “Special Care in Dentistry”, the official journal of Special Care Dentistry Association functioning in the US — the association serves as a resource to all oral healthcare professionals who serve or are interested in serving patients with special needs through education and networking to increase access to oral healthcare for patients with special needs.

“Providing comprehensive, preventive and therapeutic oral healthcare to individuals with special health care needs is the “Holy Grail" for a pediatric dentist,” said G.S Prathima, Head of the Paediatric Dentistry Department.

Saravana Kumar, IGIDS principal, pointed out that the results of the study were reflective of the relatively newer phenomenon of integrative dentistry.

The study was designed in collaboration with the Centre for Yoga Therapy Education and Research (CYTER) of SBV to lay the ground for evolving a holistic treatment for children with ASD under the care of the Carunai and Sathya Special Schools in Puducherry.

“Such studies are an outcome of an increasing focus on the interface between modern medicine and complementary therapies such as yoga, to create high quality evidence for the synergistic applications in holistic healthcare,” said S.C. Parija, Vice-Chancellor of SBV.

Divyanga Yoga

According to Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, Director of CYTER, pointed to a copyrighted work, Divyanga Yoga, which was being implemented for children with special needs. Meena Ramanathan, Deputy Director of CYTER and yoga therapy consultant for the study said that the study reaffirmed yoga therapy to be a positive self-care tool that was a healthy cost-effective adjuvant in enhancing tooth brushing learning capabilities of children with ASD.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 11:40:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/yoga-can-help-autistic-children-maintain-good-oral-hygiene/article29956708.ece

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