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J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2013 Jul;3(2):103-15. doi: 10.4103/2231-0762.127810.

Effectiveness of oral health education programs: A systematic review.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Rama Dental College Hospital and Research Centre, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.
2
Department of Public Health Dentistry, DAPMRV Dental College Hospital and Research Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.

Abstract

In recent years, attention has been drawn toward assessing the effectiveness of oral health education programs. This is in line with demand for evidence based research and will help to inform policy makers on how to allocate resources. (1) Collect and collate all information on oral health education programs. (2) Assess the programs based on various coding criteria. (3) Assess effectiveness of oral health education programs on oral health status and knowledge, attitude and practice. A search of all published articles in Medline was done using the keywords "oral health education, dental health education, oral health promotion". The resulting titles and abstracts provided the basis for initial decisions and selection of articles. Out of the primary list of articles, a total number of 40 articles were selected as they fulfilled the following inclusion criteria: (1). Articles on oral health programs with an oral health education component (2). Articles published after the year 1990 (3). Articles published in English. The full text of the articles was then obtained from either the internet or libraries of dental research colleges and hospitals in and around Bangalore. A set of important variables were identified and grouped under five headings to make them amenable for coding. The coding variables were then described under various subheadings to allow us to compare the chosen articles. Oral health education is effective in improving the knowledge attitude and practice of oral health and in reducing plaque, bleeding on probing of the gingiva and caries increment. This study identifies a few important variables which contribute to the effectiveness of the programs. There is an indication in this review that the most successful oral health programs are labor intensive, involve significant others and has received funding and additional support. A balance between inputs and outputs and health care resources available will determine if the program can be recommended for general use.

KEYWORDS:

Effectiveness; oral health education; oral health promotion; programs; systematic review

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