Background: The school oral health education program is believed to be a cost-effective method for promoting oral health. The KAP (knowledge-attitude-practice) model of oral health education is often the foundation of most health education programs. Objectives: To assess the existing knowledge, attitude, and oral health care practices among 11-to 13-year-old children and the association of knowledge with attitude, oral health care practices, and dental caries prevalence. Design: Cross-sectional design, involving 858 children studying in class seven at various schools in the city of Mangalore, India. The children were selected using stratified random sampling method. Prevalence of dental caries was determined using decayed, missing, and filled permanent teeth (DMFT) index. A self-administered questionnaire on self-care practices in oral health, knowledge, and attitude toward oral health care was filled by children. The association of different variables with knowledge was analyzed using binary logistic regression analysis. Results: The dental caries prevalence was 59.4%, and 54.5% had low knowledge. They lacked knowledge regarding use of fluoridated toothpaste and did not use them. Children with low knowledge had significantly higher odds of having DMFT ≥1, not using fluoridated toothpaste, and being afraid of going to the dentist due to possible pain. There was no association of other oral health care practices and attitudes with knowledge. Conclusion: Oral health care practices and attitudes are not fully explained by knowledge, and other models of health education need to be considered.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health