Oral health behaviour of schoolchildren and parents in Jordan

Int J Paediatr Dent. 2002 May;12(3):168-76. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-263x.2002.00359.x.


Objectives: The objectives of the study were: (i) to assess the level of dental knowledge and attitudes towards child dental care among parents in Jordan, (ii) to analyse the oral health care habits of schoolchildren and parents, and (iii) to evaluate the oral hygiene habits and use of professional dental services of children in relation to socio-demographic conditions.

Design: Cross-sectional, self-administered questionnaires for parents.

Sample and methods: National representative sample of 6-16-year-olds living in urban areas (n = 1556, children and parents, response rate 92%, 48.7% boys, 51.3% girls).

Results: In all, 80% of the parents knew about the harmful effect of sugar and 79% thought that poor oral hygiene may induce dental caries. In addition to proper oral hygiene (79%) and restriction of sugar/sweets (42%), 36% of the parents emphasized regular dental visits for the prevention of dental disease in children. However, most children saw a dentist for symptomatic reasons only (86%), while 11% attended for dental check-ups. At their last visit to the dentist, 49% of the children had tooth extraction and only 8% had preventive services (fissure sealing). Toothbrushing at least twice a day was reported for 31% of the children; 14% of children aged 6-9 years had assistance from adults in brushing. Dental care habits of children were highly affected by dental visiting habits of parents, and variations by level of education of parents were also found.

Conclusions: The discrepancy between dental knowledge and attitudes of parents and oral health care practices indicate the need for oral health education. School-based oral health promotion programmes should be established in Jordan to influence the oral health behaviour of children and parents and to avoid further deterioration in their oral health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Care for Children
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Education, Dental
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Jordan
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Parents / education
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants / therapeutic use
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Tooth Extraction
  • Toothbrushing
  • Urban Health


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Pit and Fissure Sealants