Oral health status and oral health knowledge, attitudes and behavior among rural children in Shaanxi, western China: a cross-sectional survey.BMC Oral Health. 2014 Nov 29; 14:144.BO
The current oral health status and possible dental risk factors among children in rural Shaanxi Province, western China are unreported. This study aimed to describe the oral health status and to analyze the possible risk factors for the oral health status in this population.
A multi-stage cluster sampling method was used to survey 12- to 15-year-olds and 4- to 6-year-olds in villages in Shaanxi Province. The structured questionnaires were provided to the 12- to 15-year-olds and to the caregivers of the 4- to 6-year-olds to collect information on the subjects' oral health knowledge, attitudes and behavior. A clinical examination was performed to assess dental caries and gingival bleeding (only 12- to 15-year-olds). SPSS 17.0 statistical software was used to analyze the data.
The decayed, missing, filled teeth (DMFT) index scores of 12- to 15-year-olds and 4-to 6-year-olds averaged 0.45 and 3.05, respectively. The caries prevalence was 23.9% in 12- to 15-year-olds and 67% in 4-to 6-year-olds. Additionally, 45.2% of the 12- to 15-year-olds had gingival bleeding and 62.8% had calculus. The oral health knowledge of the subjects was generally poor, whereas they held very positive attitudes toward oral health. A low number of participants reported that they brushed their teeth at least twice daily. Moreover, a statistically significant relationship was found between oral health knowledge scores, tooth brushing frequency and DMFT scores as well as gingival bleeding in the 12- to 15-year-olds. Frequency of sweets consumption was strongly related to dmft scores in the 4- to 6-year-olds.
The oral health status, oral health knowledge and behaviors among village children in Shaanxi Province are poor. Oral health education to improve oral health knowledge and to increase the frequency of tooth brushing should be undertaken in the rural schools in western China.