Introduction: There is high prevalence of dental caries in India which can be attributed to the low public health awareness concerning the disease. Knowledge and awareness regarding proper oral hygiene habits may also be a contributing factor to this high prevalence of dental caries. Dental health education and promotion are important tools in combatting dental caries from an early age. Aim: The aim of the study was to assess the knowledge and awareness about dental caries and brushing pattern in high risk school students. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional self- administered questionnaire survey was conducted to assess the knowledge and awareness about dental caries and brushing pattern in school students in the age group of 12-18 years. Only those students who had experience of at least one decayed, missing (due to caries) or filled teeth were included in the study. Thus, a total of 110 students were included in this study. Results: Majority of the study participants had fair knowledge of dental caries, but only 28.18% had ever visited a dentist. 71.90% of the study population brushed their teeth less than twice a day and just 31.81% were aware of the anti-cariogenic potential of fluorides. Also, only 36.36% had knowledge of brushing techniques. Conclusion: School students even at high risk of dental caries avoid visiting the dentist. The brushing habits and patterns of these students are poor and are likely to promote development of dental caries.
Keywords: Knowledge, awareness, dental caries, brushing pattern, questionnaire.