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Oral Health Prev Dent. 2007;5(1):19-24.

Short-term effects of hygiene education for preschool (kindergarten) children: a clinical study.

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Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, University of Michigan, 1011 N. University Avenue, Ann Arbor, Ml 48109-1078, USA.



To evaluate the outcomes of short (15 minutes) oral hygiene vs. hand hygiene education for preschool children 4 weeks after these interventions.


Sixty-one preschool children (age range 4-6 years) attending four kindergarten classes participated in a 15-minute health education programme on the importance of body cleanliness for general health. In addition, specific instructions on oral hygiene were provided for two randomly selected classes (30 children), while the remaining two classes (31 children) were given instruction of hand and nail cleaning. The oral hygiene status was assessed usingthe plaque control record (PCR). The cleanliness of the hands and fingernails was determined using a hand hygiene index (HHI) and a nail hygiene index (NHI). All three parameters were assessed before the intervention as well as 4 weeks thereafter.


Four weeks after education, the PCR had improved for all children from 79.95% to 72.35% (p < 0.001). The NHI had improved from 74.91% to 61.71% (p < 0.001). In addition, the mean PCR of the children given oral hygiene instruction decreased from 83.67% to 72.40%, while the mean PCR of the children given hand and nail cleaning instruction decreased from 76.23% to 72.29% (interaction effect 'time x type of instruction': p = 0.044). Girls' PCR improved significantly more than boys' PCR (Girls, 80.98 vs. 69.71; boys, 78.33 vs. 75.31; p = 0.021).


The results of the study show that even a short, school-based educational intervention at an early age may affect children's oral health promotion significantly. Teachers should, therefore, be encouraged to educate children from an early age about oral hygiene promotion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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