Objective: This study aims at determining the oral health awareness level, the patterns of dental health practices and their potential relationship with certain socio-demographic factors, including gender (sex), mother's education and the socio-economic status of the family, among 14-15-year-old schoolchildren in Jerash Governorate, Northern Jordan.
Participants and method: Cross-sectional survey including 1362 public schoolchildren, who completed a self-administered structured questionnaire.
Results: Overall, the level of oral health knowledge among the surveyed children was low. Of the 1362 schoolchildren included in this survey, only 18 and 17% did know the meaning of plaque and what plaque can cause, respectively. Female performance was significantly better than male performance on two of the six knowledge questions (P < 0.01). While 17% of children have never been to the dentist, there are 10% only who visit the dentist on regular basis. The majority (56%) of these pupils said they visit the dentist when there is a serious dental or oral health problem. Fear of the dentist and difficulty in obtaining an appointment with the dentist were the causes of irregular visit to the dental clinic in 28 and 19% of the cases, respectively.
Conclusion: Results of this study prove that oral health awareness level among public schoolchildren in Jordan is still poor and needs to be improved. Based upon these findings, the establishment of a long-term school-based oral health education programme in Jordan is highly recommended.