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Community Dent Health. 1995 Dec;12(4):230-4.

Smart Habit Xylitol campaign, a new approach in oral health promotion.

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National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health, Helsinki, Finland.


A national 'Smart Habit' Xylitol campaign was organised in Finland in autumn 1992. The aim of the campaign was to increase consumption of xylitol chewing gum in 13-year-old school children, to promote their oral health. The campaign was conducted in elementary schools in the form of a quiz and lesson related to xylitol. Seventh form children from schools in 12 local health authority areas in 10 provinces took part in the campaign. Six thousand seven hundred children were involved. Data were collected with a series of three separate postal questionnaires. The study group consisted of 1,281 children exposed to the campaign. A control group was formed from 1,227 children in the same provinces not exposed to it. Questionnaires were distributed before and after the campaign. A third one was sent out a month later. A high number of the children had consumed xylitol chewing gum even before the campaign. The majority of the respondents reported no changes in consumption of xylitol chewing gum after meals in the first two questionnaires. The results showed that the consumption of xylitol chewing gum after meals increased more in the group exposed to the campaign than in the control group (P = 0.002). Girls in the study group increased their consumption of xylitol chewing gum more than boys (P = 0.016). Also an increase in the daily use of xylitol chewing gum was achieved by the campaign; differences between the study and the control group being significant (P < 0.05). Even though there was knowledge about the beneficial properties of xylitol beforehand, an increase in knowledge was achieved by the campaign. There seems to be potential for positive oral health promotion by means of this type of xylitol campaign.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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