Oral health

Oral health status and oral health behaviour of urban and rural schoolchildren in Southern Thailand

International Dental Journal (2001) 51, 95-102
Poul Erik Petersen (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Niels Hoerup (Aarhus, Denmark)
Nattaporn Poomviset, Janpim Prommajan and Achara Watanapa (Hatyai, Thailand)


To describe the level of oral disease in urban and rural school-children in Southern Thailand; to analyse self-care practices and dental visiting habits of 12-year-olds, and to assess the effect of socio-behavioural factors on dental caries experience.


A cross sectional study of 6- and 12-year-old children, urban and rural schools chosen at random from 19 districts of one province.


Suratthani Province, Southern Thailand.


A total of 1,156 children of grade 1 (6 yrs) and 1,116 children of grade 6 (12yrs).


Clinical recordings of dental caries and periodontal CPI scores 0, 1 or 2 according to WHO; structured interviews of 12-year-olds (n=1,084) concerning oral health behaviour and attitudes.


At age 6, 96.30;0 of children had caries and mean dmft was 8.1. In 12-year-olds, 70% had caries in permanent teeth and the level of DMFT was 2.4. Experience of pain during the previous 12 months was reported by 53% of 12-year-olds, 66% saw a dentist within the previous year and 24% reported that visits were due to troubles in teeth. Toothbrushing at least once a day was claimed by 88%. Significant numbers of the children reported having hidden sugar every day: soft drinks (24%) , milk with sugar (340;0), and tea with sugar (260;0). Important predictors of high caries experience were dental visits, consumption of sweets, ethnic group (Muslim) and sex (girls) whereas lower risk was observed in children with positive oral health attitudes.


Systematic health education may further improve the oral health of Thai children and the primary school provides a unique setting for such programmes.