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Trop Med Int Health. 2018 Apr;23(4):391-404. doi: 10.1111/tmi.13036. Epub 2018 Feb 27.

Effects of nutrition and hygiene education on oral health and growth among toddlers in rural Uganda: follow-up of a cluster-randomised controlled trial.

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Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Human Nutrition and Home Economics, Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda.
Institute of Clinical Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Oslo Center for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Institute of Health Sciences, Kristiania University College, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Haematology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



To examine the effect of a nutrition and hygiene education intervention on oral health behaviour and whether early onset of caries was related to child growth in rural Uganda.


Follow-up study of a cluster-randomised controlled trial conducted between October 2013 and January 2015. Data were available from 399 mother/child pairs (203 in the intervention and 198 in the control group) of the original trial (78%) when the children were 36 months old. Oral health behaviour was evaluated using questionnaires. Photographs of the maxillary anterior teeth were examined for unmistakably carious lesions, and 115 water samples from the study area were analysed for fluoride concentration.


The frequency of cleaning of the child's teeth at 36 months was about twice as high in the intervention as in the control group (84.3% vs. 46.6%; P = 0.0001). Cavitated carious lesions occurred more frequently in the control than the intervention group (27.8% vs. 18.2%; P = 0.04). Extraction of 'false teeth' (ebiino), a painful and crude traditional operation, was profoundly reduced in the intervention group (8.9% vs. 24.7%; P = 0.001). There was no evidence of association between the occurrence of caries and child growth.


The education intervention improved oral hygiene practices and reduced the development and progression of caries and extraction of ebiino. Early childhood caries was not clearly associated with child growth.


Ouganda; Uganda; caries; children; dents; enfants; hygiène buccale; nutrition education; oral hygiene; teeth; éducation nutritionnelle

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