Dental caries experience and oral health behavior among 7-15 years old children attending military and paramilitary schools in Benin City
Aims: To investigate dental caries experience and oral health behavior among 7-15 year old school children attending military and paramilitary primary schools in Benin City.
Subjects and methods: This cross-sectional descriptive study included 172 school children. Systematic random sampling method was used to select the participants, administered questionnaires followed by clinical examination based on WHO criteria for dental caries diagnosis.
Results: The response rate was 95.6%. Study involved 96 (55.8%) males and 76 (44.2%) females with age range of 7-15 years and mean age of 10.7 years (SD=1.85). The prevalence of dental caries was 20.4% with a total mean DMFT/dmft of 0.36. Females (0.41) higher than Males (0.33). About 57.6% had previously heard of the dentist while only 25% had been to a dental clinic with 56.4% cleaning their teeth twice daily mostly using tooth paste and brush. Nearly half (47.1%) reported bleeding while brushing and 90.1% took snacks. Furthermore, 92.4% responded that halitosis was a concern to them.
Conclusion: The school children had satisfactory knowledge of dental personnel and good oral hygiene practices, but poor dental visits and snacking habits. The prevalence of caries was low and is likely to increase without oral health education, promotion and intervention. Periodic screening and education is recommended.
Keywords: dental caries, children, oral health education, oral hygiene practice, screening.