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Indian J Dent Res. 2010 Apr-Jun;21(2):253-9. doi: 10.4103/0970-9290.66652.

Effectiveness of a school dental education program in improving oral health knowledge and oral hygiene practices and status of 12- to 13-year-old school children.

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Department of Community Dentistry, Yenepoya Dental College, Yenepoya University, Deralakatte, Mangalore-575 018, India.



Children with poor oral health are 12 times more likely to have restricted-activity days. Dental health education [DHE], with the objective of improving the oral hygiene of the participants, would have obvious merits.


To determine the effectiveness of school DHE, conducted at repeated and differing intervals, in improving oral health knowledge, practices, oral hygiene status, and the gingival health of schoolchildren belonging to two socioeconomic classes.


This 36-week duration study assessed the effectiveness of school DHE conducted every three weeks against every six weeks on oral health knowledge, practices, oral hygiene status and gingival health of 415, 12- to 13-year-old schoolchildren belonging to social classes I and V. Of the three selected schools of each social class, one each was subjected to the intervention of either three or six weeks or was a control, respectively. Oral health knowledge and practices were evaluated using a questionnaire. Oral hygiene and gingival health were assessed using plaque and gingival indices.


Friedman's test was used for the longitudinal analysis of data. ANOVA and Student's t test were used for continuous data.


Plaque and Gingival score reductions were highly significant in intervention schools, and were not influenced by the socioeconomic status. When oral health knowledge was evaluated, highly significant changes were seen in intervention schools; more significantly in schools receiving more frequent interventions. The socioeconomic status influenced the oral hygiene aids used and the frequency of change of toothbrush. Controls showed no significant changes throughout.


The DHE program conducted at three-week intervals was more effective than that conducted at six-week intervals in improving oral health knowledge, practices, oral hygiene status, and gingival health of schoolchildren.

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