Awareness of dental hygiene amongst the primary school children of low socio-economic strata

Ravi Kumar, Deepak Joshi


Background: Childhood dental caries is a major health concern in children that continues to negatively affect the oral health. The condition if left untreated, can lead to disruption of growth and development of permanent teeth, pain, life threatening infections and expensive treatment. This study was done to assess the prevalence of the dental caries in primary school children and see their current level of awareness about dental hygiene practices.

Methods: The present study was questionnaire-based cross sectional study. During the study 1000 school students of age 5-12 years were interviewed personally about the dental hygiene practices. The questionnaires were filled as per the responses given by them and after that basic dental and oral examination was carried out, to look for the condition of teeth, number of carious teeth in the mouth, number of restorations etc. Only one student was interviewed and examined at a time. After that he or she was provided with basic information to maintain good oral and dental hygiene.

Results: The prevalence of dental caries is 31.6% and of these 4.43% had carries in more than 3 teeth. 60 children had at least one teeth restored. Only 16.3% children were totally aware of the dental hygiene. About 61.7% of them brush in morning, and only 30.4% for more than 2 minutes. 52.3% had never visited a dentist.

Conclusions: Most of the children are not totally aware of the ways to maintain good oral hygiene and those who are aware are not practicing it. The role of parents is also very significant but nearly half of the parents do not guide their children for brushing and maintaining good oral hygiene. Regular dental check-ups by arranging dental camps in schools and educating the children and parents about oral hygiene will improve the situation. 


Dental caries, Low socio-economic status, Oral hygiene practices, Pre-school children

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