Alexander Sonia; McCaw-Binns, Affette M.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Community Health and Psychiatry
The Oral Health Status of 12 Year Old Children in St. Lucia
West Indian Dental Journal
Date of Publication
This study was carried out to determine the oral health status of 12-year old children in St. Lucia and to assess its association with oral health knowledge, attitudes and practice. A cross-sectional study of 97 students from 4 of 30 randomly selected schools in the north of the island was undertaken from June to August 2000. A structured questionnaire measured studentís knowledge, attitudes and practices while dental nurses performed an oral examination to determine their decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) level, using World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The DMFT rate was 2.0 which by WHO standards is low; however, 65% had one to seven decayed teeth, 8% had one to four missing teeth with only 9% having one to two filled teeth, indicating the need for routine dental treatment. Knowledge and practice levels were good. Lower DMFT scores among boys were predicted by more frequent dental visits. Dental health education is integrated into the school curriculum and taught mainly by teachers. This needs to be supported by increased access to routine examination and treatment, proper planning of oral health programmes, including oral health education, behaviour modification, public health measures such as salt fluoridation. These will contribute to further reducing the incidence of oral diseases. ....