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Int Dent J. 2014 Oct;64(5):278-84. doi: 10.1111/idj.12123. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

School-based oral health-education program using experiential learning or traditional lecturing in adolescents: a clinical trial.

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Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Dental School, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.


The aim of this project was to compare the effectiveness of experiential learning (EL) and traditional lecturing (TL) school-based oral health education on the oral health knowledge, attitude, habits, oral hygiene, gingival health and caries incidence of 13-year-old Greek children. Eighty-seven children for the EL group and 80 for the TL group were selected from two areas of Greece. Information on oral health knowledge, attitude and behaviours were obtained using a questionnaire. Dental plaque was recorded using a modified hygiene index, gingivitis was assessed using the simplified gingival index and dental caries was measured by recording the number of Decayed, Missing and Filled teeth (DMFT) using the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD) criteria. All children were examined by two calibrated dentists, using a World Health Organisation (WHO) periodontal probe and artificial light. Questionnaires were delivered and clinical examinations were performed at baseline and at 6 and 18 months post-intervention. The EL oral health educational programme was implemented by teachers using the programme's manual. Oral health knowledge had improved significantly (P < 0.001) in both groups at 6 and 18 months post-intervention. Oral health behaviour (P < 0.001) and attitude (P < 0.05) had improved significantly at 6 months, and oral hygiene and gingival health had improved significantly at both 6 (P < 0.001) and 18 (P < 0.05) months for the EL group. Lower caries incidence was recorded for the EL group, 18 months post-intervention (P < 0.05). School-based oral health EL for adolescents was found to be more effective than TL in improving oral health attitude and behaviour at 6 months, in improving oral hygiene and gingival health at both 6 and 18 months and in reducing caries incidence 18 months post-intervention.


Oral health education; adolescents; experiential learning

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