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Community Dent Health. 2002 Dec;19(4):243-50.

Changing oral health status and oral health behaviour of schoolchildren in Poland.

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Medical University of Warsaw, Department for Conservative Dentistry, Warsaw, Poland.



To assess the occurrence of dental caries over time in Polish schoolchildren, to analyse the oral health behaviour of children and mothers, and to compare the levels of dental knowledge and attitudes of mothers and schoolteachers.


Cross-sectional oral health surveys of children aged 6 and 12 years were carried out in 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2000; questionnaire surveys of a sample of mothers and schoolteachers were conducted in 1999.


The surveys in schools intended to aid planning and evaluation of the revitalised school oral health programme in Poland.


Children of age six years comprised: 1995 (n = 1860); 1997 (n = 922); 1999 (n = 2290); 2000 (n = 3391). The surveys of 12-year-old subjects covered: 1995 (n = 1859); 1997 (n = 2743); 1999 (n = 3060): 2000 (n = 3391). Mothers (n = 1040) of a randomised subsample of children (response rate 83%) and 471 schoolteachers (response rate 95%) were identified for the questionnaire surveys in 1999.


Dental caries in children was recorded by WHO methods and criteria, self-administered questionnaires were used to gather information on dental knowledge, attitudes and practices of children and mothers while self-administered questionnaires for teachers covered dental knowledge, attitudes and involvement in health education.


The proportions of 6-year-old children being caries-free were 13% in 1995, 17% in 1997, 18% in 1999 and 12% in 2000. The mean DMFT of children aged 12 years was 4.2 in 1995, 4.0 in 1997, 4.0 in 1999 and 3.8 in 2000; the D-component was particularly high for rural children. In 1999, toothbrushing at least twice a day was reported for 64% of children and this practice was relatively frequent in urban areas. Dental visits were made by 71% of children and 56% of mothers. Knowledge and attitudes were low, particularly in rural areas. Dental care habits of children were highly influenced by dental attendance and level of education of mothers. Knowledge and attitudes were higher for teachers than mothers. The teachers knew about the poor dental conditions in children and wanted to become involved in oral health education. In conclusion, the need for oral health education of children and mothers was shown and the continuous implementation of school oral health programmes is most relevant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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