Oral health knowledge, attitudes and practices among school teachers in Tshwane district, South Africa
Keywords:Oral health, learners, knowledge, school teachers, attitudes, practices.
Teachers are perceived as role models and studies have shown that they can enhance the oral health behaviour of young children. To assess the oral health (OH) knowledge, attitudes
and practices of public school teachers in a district in Pretoria, South Africa. This was a cross sectional analytical study. The sample comprised of six schools that were randomly selected
within the Tshwane West sub district. A total of 160 teachers were included. A modified, self-administered, validated questionnaire was used to obtain the data. Of the 160 teachers included, 97 (61%) completed the questionnaire. The majority (80%) were female and the mean age was 38.23 years (±12.85; 22-66). More than 80% had an adequate level of OH knowledge, 94% reported it was important to visit a dental practitioner (DP) regularly and 94% believed that OH education should form part of the teaching curriculum. The most
common reason for visiting a DP was toothache (32%) while fear (35%) was the most common barrier. Those with a higher mean age were more likely to brush frequently (p<0.01), utilise dental aids (p=0.01) and visit a DP regularly (p=0.02). The majority of teachers had adequate OH knowledge. The respondents with a higher mean age were more likely to brush frequently, use dental aids and visit a DP regularly. Workshops for teachers are required to improve current levels of knowledge and address any queries regarding
prevention and diagnosing of dental diseases.
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