Oral health knowledge and attitudes of elementary schoolteachers in Michigan

J Public Health Dent. 1989 Winter;49(1):44-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.1989.tb02020.x.


Teachers at elementary schools in two areas (urban and rural) of Michigan were surveyed to determine their sources of information about oral health and their knowledge and attitudes about dental diseases and disease prevention. Questionnaires were completed by 404 teachers (62% response rate). More than 80 percent of respondents from both areas were female. Demographic characteristics that were significantly different between groups included: median ages of urban and rural respondents (P less than .01), median numbers of years in teaching (P less than .01), and median years in residence (P less than .03). Despite these differences, responses to the questionnaire varied little. For both groups, the most frequently cited sources of information about dental health were dentist's office (82%), followed by magazines and books (74%). The teachers considered preventing tooth decay as the most important reason for good oral hygiene. When asked to rank the effectiveness of ten methods of preventing caries in children, teachers ranked efficacious methods such as fluoridated water and pit and fissure sealants lower than making regular dental visits and reducing intake of sugared foods. Asked to rank the most effective method for children to receive fluoride, urban respondents ranked fluoridated water first, while rural respondents ranked this measure third. Findings suggest that teachers' knowledge about oral health and current methods of prevention is incomplete, is inaccurate in some instances, and varies little by geographic area.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Fluorides / therapeutic use
  • Health Education, Dental*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Periodontal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Teaching*


  • Fluorides