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ORAL HEALTH AWARENESS AND ORAL HYGIENE PRACTICES AMONG CHILDREN AGED 6-7 YEARS IN 3 URBAN SCHOOLS IN MOMBASA, KENYA

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ABSTRACT

 

Background

Studies carried out on oral hygiene status among children in Kenya reported high levels of plaque and gingivitis. However, information about the oral health awareness and oral hygiene practices of children in the country is scanty.

 

Objective

The aim of this study was to determine the level of oral health awareness and oral hygiene practices among 6-7 year old children attending 3 urban schools in Mombasa.

 

Study Design

This was a descriptive cross-sectional study.

 

Study Area

The study was conducted at Aga Khan Primary, Kaloleni Primary and Kikowani Primary schools.

 

Study Population

The study population comprised 6-7 year old pupils from Aga Khan Primary, Kaloleni Primary and Kikowani Primary schools.

 

Methodology

Simple random sampling method was used to select a sample of one hundred and sixty two pupils. Data was collected using an administered questionnaire. Data analysis was done using SPSS 17.0 and the results obtained presented in the form of charts, tables and graphs.

 

Results

Of the 162 respondents, 97.5% cleaned their teeth and they all used a conventional toothbrush. Only 22.2% brushed to prevent cavities. 73.8% of the children who had visited a dentist were scared on their first visit. 96.9% of the children knew that sugary foods and drinks are not good for the teeth. 85.2% knew that brushing prevents caries and 88.3% said that it is good to visit a dentist regularly.

Conclusion

Generally daily oral health care is practiced among almost all the children. However, many of the children brushed less than twice per day. Only 40.1% of the children had visited a dentist and that was mainly because of toothaches or extractions. It was noted that generally Aga Khan Primary School pupils were more knowledgeable on oral health, practiced more efficient oral hygiene and had visited the dentist more frequently than Kaloleni and Kikowani Primary School children. This may be attributed to the difference in the socioeconomic status of the children in these schools.

 

Recommendations

Further studies should be done in school children in Mombasa to get a larger picture of their oral health awareness and oral hygiene practices. Because only less than half of the children had visited a dentist, school children in Mombasa and their parents need to be educated on the importance of visiting a dentist and be advised on visiting the dentist at least every 6-12 months.

 

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