Author(s): Hamilton ME, Coulby WM
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Abstract Despite improvements in children's dental health, and significant resource allocation to health education programs, few recent studies have investigated the associations of oral health knowledge, behaviors, and status. This study of 11-year-old children (N = 6,329) in northeastern Ontario used a supervised self-complete questionnaire and a clinical examination to gather baseline data on, and test associations of, caries and periodontal knowledge, self-reported oral health behaviors and source of knowledge, and oral health status. Results show the children had poor knowledge of caries preventive measures such as water fluoridation, dental sealants, and choice of snack foods. Periodontal knowledge was better, but children confused plaque and calculus. Respondents claimed good oral health habits, with 73 percent claiming to brush at least twice daily, 88 percent claiming to use toothpaste, 42 percent claim to floss at least twice weekly, and 84 percent claiming an annual dental visit. Children with the best knowledge claimed dentist and school as the sources. High knowledge was associated with good oral health habits (P less than .001) and low DMFT score (P less than .001). Good habits were not related to DMFT score (P = .1095). Logistic regression showed high knowledge was associated with English cultural status, urban school area, good habits, having a dental sealant, and attending a fluoride-rinse school (P less than .05). Findings suggest a need to reinforce caries preventive teaching, to investigate the effect of cultural status, dental experience, and residence status on oral health knowledge, and to further test the efficacy of different oral health education programs delivered by different sources.
This article was published in J Public Health Dent
and referenced in Journal of Cell Science & Therapy