Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
                                                   Official journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry                           
Year : 2007  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15--19

Status of oral health awareness in Indian children as compared to Western children: A thought provoking situation (A pilot study)


Navneet Grewal, Manpreet Kaur 
 Department of Pedodontia and Preventive Dentistry, Punjab Govt. Dental College and Hospital, Amritsar, India

Correspondence Address:
Manpreet Kaur
Department of Pedodontia and Preventive Dentistry, Punjab Govt. Dental College and Hospital, Amritsar
India

Abstract

A study was conducted to evaluate the level of oral health awareness in a selected sample of Indian children and a selected sample of western children residing in Amritsar city of Punjab. Children were evaluated on the basis of a standardized questionnaire developed by WHO, for health awareness in children. Final results revealed the level of awareness in both the groups and the practical application of their knowledge about dental health in day to day life.



How to cite this article:
Grewal N, Kaur M. Status of oral health awareness in Indian children as compared to Western children: A thought provoking situation (A pilot study).J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2007;25:15-19


How to cite this URL:
Grewal N, Kaur M. Status of oral health awareness in Indian children as compared to Western children: A thought provoking situation (A pilot study). J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2007 [cited 2021 Feb 28 ];25:15-19
Available from: https://www.jisppd.com/text.asp?2007/25/1/15/31983


Full Text

 Introduction



Health is a universal human need for all cultural groups. General health cannot be attained or maintained without oral health. The mouth is regarded as the mirror of the body and the gateway to good health.

Today, various types of oral health maintenance materials have been used and countless numbers of dental health information programs have been conducted in schools and other settings. [1],[2],[3],[4],[5] However, these efforts will not succeed in influencing the behavior until people are not aware of the importance of oral health. So, attainment of good oral health is based upon the awareness of good dietary habits and oral hygiene practices.

Individuals become aware of anything new by showing interest in knowing more about it and evaluating advantages and disadvantages to put that new idea or method in practice. Finally the individual accepts the idea as beneficial to him by practicing it in principle.

Is awareness enough to achieve good oral health unless, it is practiced ideally by the target population?

Although imparting oral health education begins from the footstep of awareness, evaluation of its implementation is an important indicator of the success of the education imparted.

Therefore, in the present study, an attempt was made to evaluate and compare oral health awareness in Indian and western children and existing oral health practices in both the groups.

Selection of sample

A total of 200 children were randomly selected from two different schools and grouped as Group I and II.

Group I: 100 Indian children studying in the senior study school at Putli-Ghar Amritsar.

Group II: 100 non-resident American children studying at Sikh Dharma at Miri-Piri Academy, Chheharta, Amritsar.

The selected subjects were between the ages of 11 and 16 years. The socio-economic status and literacy level of the parents of the Indian children were important criteria for selecting the Indian sample.

 Method of Study



Children participated in personal interviews conducted on the basis of a standardized questionnaire developed by WHO, for health awareness in children. The questionnaire included 12 questions regarding individual views of children on their own:

Oral health statusDental careOral health practicesDietary habits Parental education

 Results and Discussion



A total of 200 children participated in personal interviews conducted on the basis of a standardized questionnaire developed by WHO, for health awareness in children. Turning to more quantitative part of the analysis of the study, we have the following information. When the children were asked regarding the health of their teeth and gums, 28% of American children described it as excellent as compared to 6% of the Indian group. Moreover, 16% of Indian children were not aware of the status of their own teeth and gums [Table 1],[Table 2],[Table 3],[Table 4],[Table 5],[Table 6],[Table 7],[Table 8],[Table 9],[Table 10].

Regarding the frequency and reason for the visit to the dentist, it was found that 35% of the Indian children never visited the dentist as compared to 11% of American children in the past 12 months. About 17% of Indian children responded that only when they had discomfort or pain they were taken to the dentist by their parents. On the other hand 45% of American children's visit was initiated by the dentist for routine recall or by parents for general preventive check-up.

There was also significant difference in oral hygiene practices in both the groups. About the frequency of brushing, 60% the American children brushed twice a day and 47% of Indian children brushed once a day. There were some (3%) who brushed once a week in Indian group.

Though the awareness regarding the fluoridated toothpaste was comparable between the two groups, the consistency of use was not same in the both groups.

More than half (54%) of the American children were flossing regularly where as less than 1/7 th (15%) of the Indian children flossed regularly.

Dietary habits of both the groups were comparable, which goes to show the effect of urbanization on the Indian children.

 Conclusion



The Indian group showed low level of oral health awareness and practice as compared to the western group although both the groups show comparable eating habits. The influence of urbanization and modern food habits have certainly made the Indian children at par with the western children, but their oral hygiene practices have not changed with changing times. On the other hand the western children were more aware of regular visits to the dentist because it was initiated either by the dentist or the parents. Such an effort on the part of the parents was predominantly missing in the Indian children. This study initiates a thought provoking response from our dental health educators and providers who although repeatedly carry out dental camps for oral health awareness, do not go back to reassess the impact and the outcome of their programs on their target population.

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