Oral health profile of schoolchildren, mothers and schoolteachers in Zanzibar

Community Dent Health. 1998 Dec;15(4):256-62.


Objective: To analyse oral health status and oral health practices of schoolchildren in Zanzibar, to assess oral health knowledge, attitudes and practices of the mothers, and to describe knowledge and attitudes of schoolteachers in relation to oral health education of children.

Design: Cross-sectional surveys of standards 1 and 5 children and their mothers were carried out based on the WHO pathfinder principle. The children were clinically examined and the mothers responded to personal interviews. Self-administered questionnaires were used to collect information on a convenience sample of schoolteachers.

Setting: The surveys were conducted to aid the planning and evaluation of school-based oral health promotion in Zanzibar.

Subjects: Two hundred and fifty-nine standard 1 and 226 standard 5 children participated in the survey; the sample was balanced by gender and degree of urbanisation. A total of 455 mothers (92% of original sample) and 123 schoolteachers (100% of sample) were included.

Outcome measures: For children, dental caries experience (dmft/DMFT) and CPI were recorded. For mothers, knowledge about causes and prevention of dental disease, dental attitudes and oral health behaviour were ascertained. For teachers, dental knowledge and attitudes to health education were investigated.

Results and conclusions: The mean caries experiences were 2.1 dmft (standard 1) and 0.7 DMFT (standard 5) and the prevalence was higher in urban than in rural areas. Daily toothcleaning was reported for 59% of the children and 67% of the mothers. The use of traditional Miswaki was frequent in rural areas whereas toothbrushes were common in urban areas. The level of knowledge was similar for mothers and teachers. Training in oral health topics is needed for schoolteachers to provide for school-based health education of children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DMF Index*
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education, Dental
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Planning
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mothers*
  • Oral Health*
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Health
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tanzania
  • Teaching*
  • Tooth Diseases / etiology
  • Tooth Diseases / prevention & control
  • Toothbrushing
  • Urban Health
  • World Health Organization