Knowledge and practices of mothers towards oral health of their 3-5 years children: a rural and urban comparative study

Pavithra Srinivasan


Background: Mothers are responsible for developing novel behaviors in children. The negligibility given to the primary dentition by the mothers in developing good oral hygiene practices was due to the lack of knowledge on its importance. The study aimed to compare the difference in knowledge and practices among rural and urban mothers towards the oral health of their children in the Kanchipuram and Chennai districts of Tamil Nadu.

Methods: A community-based comparative cross-sectional study was carried out among 140 rural and 140 urban mothers of children between three to five years of age. The analysis of the study was carried out based on a 45-item questionnaire. The results used for comparison were based on descriptive statistics, chi-square test, independent t-test, one-way analysis of variance, and column proportion test (z test) using the statistical package for social science version 16.0. The significance level of all the tests was set at (p≤0.05).

Results: The 37.1% of the rural and 79.3% of the urban mothers were found to have high knowledge. While only 6.4% of the rural and 22.1% of the urban mothers were found to have high practice. Also, there was a significant difference in knowledge (p=0.000) and practice (p=0.008) among different educational groups of rural and urban mothers as well.

Conclusions: The majority of urban mothers have adequate knowledge regarding the oral hygiene of their children when compared with rural mothers. But the practices of both groups were drastically very low concerning their knowledge. The educational status of the mother had proved their advantage in their knowledge and practice.


Knowledge, Practice, Mothers, Child, Oral health

Full Text:



Chandran V, Varma RB, Joy TM, Ramanarayanan V, Govinda BS, Menon MM. Parental knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding the importance of primary dentition of their children in Kerala, India. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent. 2019;17:247-52.

Retnakumari N, Cyriac G. Childhood caries as influenced by maternal and child characteristics in pre-school children of Kerala-an epidemiological study. Contemp Clin Dent. 2012;3(1):2-8.

Kuriakose S, Prasannan M, Remya KC, Kurian J, Sreejith KR. Prevalence of early childhood caries among preschool children in Trivandrum and its association with various risk factors. Contemp Clin Dent. 2015;6(1):69-73.

Petersen PE, Bourgeois D, Ogawa H, Estupinan-Day S, Ndiaye C. The global burden of oral diseases and risks to oral health. Bull World Health Organ. 2005;83(9):661-9.

Ghanghas M, Kumar A, Manjunath BC, Narang R, Goyal A, Kundu H. Prevalence of early childhood caries in 3- to 5-year-old preschool children in Rohtak City, Haryana. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent. 2017;15:344-7.

Riedy CA, Weinstein P, Milgrom P, Bruss M. An ethnographic study for understanding children's oral health in a multicultural community. Int Dent J. 2001;51(4):305-12.

Nagarajappa R, Kakatkar G, Sharda AJ, Asawa K, Ramesh G, Sandesh N. Infant oral health: Knowledge, attitude and practices of parents in Udaipur, India. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2013;10(5):659-65.

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Clinical Affairs Committee--Infant Oral Health Subcommittee, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Council on Clinical Affairs. Guideline on infant oral health care. Pediatr Dent. 2006;27(7):68-71.

Shivaprakash PK, Elango I, Baweja DK, Noorani HH. The state of infant oral healthcare knowledge and awareness: disparity among parents and healthcare professionals. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2009;27(1):39-43.

Suresh BS, Ravishankar TL, Chaitra TR, Mohapatra AK, Gupta V. Mother’s knowledge about pre-school child’s oral health. J Indian SocPedodPrev Dent. 2010 Dec;28(4):282–7.

Lin HC, Wong MC, Wang ZJ, Lo EC. Oral health knowledge, attitudes, and practices of Chinese adults. J Dent Res. 2001;80(5):1466-70.

Jain R, Oswal KC, Chitguppi R. Knowledge, attitude and practices of mothers toward their children's oral health: A questionnaire survey among subpopulation in Mumbai (India). J Dent Res Sci Dev. 2014;1:40-5.

Reddy P, Anjum MS, Monica M, Yadav K, Abbas I, Kanakamedala S. Evaluation of oral health knowledge among care takers working in baby day care centers of greater hyderabad. Webmed Central Public Health. 2014;5(10):WMC004733.

Mani SA, Aziz AA, John J, Ismail NM. Knowledge, attitude and practice of oral health promoting factors among caretakers of children attending day-care centers in KubangKerian, Malaysia: A preliminary study. J Indian Soc Pedod Prevent Dent. 2010;2(28):78-83.

Naidu RS, Davis L. Parents’ views on factors influencing the dental health of Trinidadian pre-school children. Community Dent Health. 2008;25(1):44-9.

Gussy MG, Waters EB, Riggs EM, Lo SK, Kilpatrick NM. Parental knowledge, beliefs and behaviours for oral health of toddlers residing in rural Victoria. Aust Dent J. 2008;53(1):52-60.

Wong D, Perez-Spiess S, Julliard K. Attitudes of Chinese parents toward the oral health of their children with caries: a qualitative study. Pediatr Dent. 2005;27(6):505-12.

Thakare VG, Krishnan CA, Chaware S. Parents’ perceptions of factors influencing the oral health of their preschool children in Vadodara city, Gujarat: A descriptive study. Eur J General Dentistry. 2012;1(1):44.

Glick M, Monteiro da Silva O, Seeberger GK, Xu T, Pucca G, Williams DM et al. FDI vision 2020: Shaping the future of oral health. Int Dent J. 2012;62:278-91.

Szatko F, Wierzbicka M, Dybizbanska E, Struzycka I, Iwanicka-Frankowska E. Oral health of Polish three-year-olds and mothers’ oral health-related knowledge. Community Dent Health. 2004;21(2):175-80.

Hood CA, Hunter ML, Kingdon A. Demographic characteristics, oral health knowledge and practices of mothers of children aged 5 years and under referred for extraction of teeth under general anaesthesia. Int J Paediatr Dent. 199;8(2):131-6.

Gurunathan D, Moses J, Arunachalam SK. Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice of Mothers regarding Oral Hygiene of Primary School children in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2018;11(4):338-43.

Blinkhorn AS. Influence of social norms on toothbrushing behavior of preschool children. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1978;6(5):222-6.