Oral health status, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours among marginalized children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Child Health Care








children; Epidemiology; Ethiopia; evaluation; health behaviour; oral health


© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015. Data on oral health status in Ethiopia are scarce. We assessed the prevalence of dental decay and gum disease and oral health practices and its barriers. We performed a cross-sectional study using comprehensive questionnaires and oral examination of 132 children aged 6–15 years in Addis Ababa. Mean age was 10 years and 50% were females. A significant number of children were HIV positive and orphaned. Forty-eight percent did not brush teeth and 43% brushed only once daily. The majority consumed sugary food despite knowing its relationship with dental decay. Seventy-four percent had between 1 and 13 dental caries and 52% showed evidence of bleeding upon brushing. Seventy-eight percent did not clean between teeth and were more likely to consume sugary food (p < 0.05) with oral pain within past six months (p < 0.01). In logistic regression, bleeding upon brushing and caries were not predicted by age or gender. We provided oral health trainings with illustrative flip-book, games and interactive discussions. Marginalized children suffer from poor oral health. We recommend national oral health strategies, targeted health education tailored towards Ethiopian societal norms and resources, improving access to local preventive tools and provision of oral care by training community health workers in the World Health Organization basic oral care package.