Last updateThu, 23 Jun 2022 9am

Educational intervention can improve dental care knowledge in aboriginal tribal children

Chizan-Chung Chena, Huai-Kuan Huangb, Ming-Jay Huangb, Chizan-Hao Wub

a Department of Family Medicine, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan
b Department of Dentistry, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Hualien, Taiwan

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The aim of this program was to assess tooth decay and dental care knowledge among children in aboriginal tribes. We wanted to both enhance dental care knowledge and reduce caries in aboriginal children through a series of educational activities.

Materials and Methods

The program included 67 of 80 (83.75%) Truku children between 3 years and 15 years of age in the Chongguang Tribe, Wenlan Village, Xiulin Township. The program lasted for the entire year in 2010. A questionnaire was administered to the children at the start of the year and then again at the end of the year. The questionnaire assessed the children’s dental care knowledge before and after the intervention with educational activities. In addition, 48 children (60%) participated in oral health screening, and 16 of them, according to age-stratified sampling, had dental plaque tests done to compare the condition of their teeth before and after intervention.


The prevalence of caries among the screened children was 68.75%. The average number of decayed teeth was 3.25 ± 3.46. The restorative rate was 48.5%, and the index of decayed, extracted, missing, and filled teeth was 7.13 ± 4.57. The correct response rate (%) on the dental care knowledge test improved from 68.15 ± 23.62 to 89.20 ± 6.70 (p < 0.001). The results indicated that the knowledge level improved. The plaque control record (%) was reduced from 41.13 ± 16.7 to 35.31 ± 13.11, but was not statistically significant (p = 0.118).


There are still many remote aboriginal tribes in Hualien and Taitung where dental care resources are scarce and the prevalence of caries is high, particularly among preschool children. Intervention with educational activities can improve aboriginal children’s dental care knowledge and is a feasible and effective approach to solve this problem.

Aboriginal children; Dental care knowledge; Oral health status


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