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Int J Dent Hyg. 2008 Nov;6(4):361-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2008.00310.x.

Oral hygiene practices, dental knowledge, dietary habits and their relation to caries among male primary school children in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia.

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Family and Community Medicine Department, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia.



To assess the frequency of consumption of cariogenic foods, oral hygiene practices and dental health knowledge among Saudi male primary school children in relation to socio-demographics and to find the possible predictors for dental caries among them.


The cross-sectional descriptive study included 1115 Saudi male selected by multistage random sample from 18 public primary schools. Subjects were interviewed by closed ended questionnaire gathering data regarding frequency consumption of some cariogenic foods, oral hygiene practices and dental health knowledge. Students were submitted to dental screening to detect the clinically evident caries lesion.


The clinically decayed tooth was diagnosed in 68.9% of the included children, more in urban and younger students. Caries affected the subjects consumed cariogenic foods at greater frequency compared with caries-free children. Only 24.5% of the students brushed their teeth twice or more per day, and 29% of them never received instructions regarding oral hygiene practices. Miswak as an alternative and/or additional method of dental cleaning was used by 44.6%. Stepwise logistic regression analysis revealed that maternal working conditions, large family size and poor oral hygiene practices were the chief predictors for dental caries among the included school children.


The poor oral hygiene practices, lack of parental guidance and appropriate dental health knowledge with frequent exposure to cariogenic foods in addition to socio-demographics are the main risk factors for dental decay among the surveyed students.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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