To evaluate the self-reported oral health habits and their association with the occurrence of dental caries among children in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), after 6 years of activities under the auspices of the Children’s Oral Health Promotion Programme (COHPP).
The data were collected in September 2013 in two of the most central districts of Pyongyang City, DPRK. The sample consisted of 492 children aged 10 and 13 years who had participated in the COHPP for 6 years. The children filled in a self-completed, structured questionnaire on oral health habits and were examined clinically by a dentist. The differences in mean (SD) number of decayed primary (dt) and permanent teeth (DT) and their sum (dt + DT) subdivided according to genders, age groups, districts and self-reported oral health habits were evaluated using Mann–Whitney U-test. The associations between self-reported oral health habits and the occurrence of dental caries were evaluated with chi-square test and logistic regression analyses.
The school-aged children commonly reported healthy oral hygiene habits but sweet snacks were commonly used. The occurrence of dental caries associated statistically significantly with the frequency of sweet snacking (p=0.011) but not with the frequency of tooth brushing (p=0.725) or the use of water for thirst instead of sugary beverages (p=0.189).
A more effective promotion of healthy dietary habits with innovative approaches and close collaboration with different social actors will be needed in future.