Oral Health Knowledge and Practices of Children in a Primary School in Turkey

Research Article

J Dent App. 2015;2(3): 178-182.

Oral Health Knowledge and Practices of Children in a Primary School in Turkey

Bahar Guciz Dogan1* and Saadet Gokalp2

1Prof. Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Public Health

2Prof. Hacettepe University Faculty of Dentistry, Dept. of Restorative Dentistry

*Corresponding author: Prof. Bahar GUCIZ DOGAN, Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Public Health, 06100, Ankara-Turkey

Received: December 01, 2014; Accepted: February 03, 2015; Published: February 05 , 2015


In order to be more effective, oral health care should be given to the child population through systematic school-based public health educational and preventive programs. This aspect is a starting point for oral health promotion campaigns. In Turkey, schoolbased educational oral health programs have not been routinely implemented in primary schools yet. Whereas some developed and developing countries have educational oral health programs [1,2], some others do not have any [3,4]. In some countries, an association was found between increased knowledge and better oral health practice [5-7].

In Turkey, the most recent oral epidemiological study showed that the prevalence of dental caries was 61.1% at age 12 and 61.2% in children aged 15; DMFT was 1.9 ± 2.2 for 12 years and 2.3 ± 2.5 for 15 years. For both age groups, caries was similar for 12- and 15-year-olds in urban and rural areas and the high prevalence of decayed teeth (D) indicated the need for dental care. A local study also reported that the mean DMFS was negatively correlated with self-reported dental health determinants among Turkish school children [8]. Another study found the existence of a strong correlation between the oral health behaviours, socioeconomic and socio-demographic factors, and the oral health status of Turkish adolescents [9].

The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge and practices (KP) of schoolchildren towards oral hygiene and oral health using a self-administered closed ended questionnaire.

Materials And Methods

In this descriptive study, the data was gathered in a primary school located in a low socio-Economical status settlement in Ankara, Turkey. At the data collection stage, the number of primary school children was 10,870,570 nationwide [10]. The number of students enrolled in the 5th to 8th grades mounted to 234 students in the study school; the participation proportion was 97.0% (n=227).

The data were gathered via a self-administered questionnaire filled in the classrooms in 2007. The questionnaire used was similar to that used in 2004 study of oral health in Turkey. Questionnaire form included 61 questions.

A verbal approval was obtained from the head of the school and a verbal consent from the students. It took about 30-40 min to fill a questionnaire. Interpersonal communication was not allowed and the children were informed to answer the questions by themselves and be honest. Questionnaires were completed under the supervision of an investigator.

The first part of the questionnaire was used to gather data regarding socio-demographic variables: current residence, age in years, parental educational and occupational status. The practiced oral health habits visiting dentist (ever or never), age at first visit and frequency of visits (regular, irregular, when having complaint) were also questioned.

Oral hygiene habits having a personal tooth-brush and toothpaste (yes or no), and usage frequency of tooth-brush (more rarely, once/day, at least twice a day) were recorded. Smoking/drinking habits: inquires regarding frequency (never, ever, once, ex or current smoker) was assigned.

Children were asked if they considered themselves to have a healthy mouth, whether they were happy with the appearance of their own teeth and healthiness of teeth is important for general health.

The final part of the questionnaire dealt with assessing the dental health knowledge in (“yes”, “no”, “do not know” format) role of regular tooth brushing and visiting dentist in aiding caries prevention, consumption of sugary foods can provoke dental caries development and caries ruins the appearance.

Chi square test was performed to test the significance of the differences in bivariate analysis.

Results and Discussion

Half of the students were male and the distribution to grades was similar. They were between the ages of 10 to 16; mean age was 12.7 ± 1.2 (Table 1).