Community dentistry and oral epidemiology vol:32 issue:3 pages:173-182
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a 6-year oral health education programme in primary schoolchildren. METHODS: This programme was part of the Signal-Tandmobiel project, a longitudinal collaborative project combining the registration of oral health data and oral health promotion. The intervention group comprised 3291 children with a mean age of 7.1 years (SD 0.43) at the start of the programme. Every year these children were examined clinically and a questionnaire, to be filled in by the parents, was administered to assess oral health behaviour. These children received an oral health education programme which consisted of a yearly 1-h instruction. Data collected using the same questionnaire and clinical examination in 676 12-year-old children were included as control group. The samples were obtained using stratified cluster sampling. The effect of the interventional programme was assessed by measuring differences in caries prevalence and incidence, levels of dental care and reported oral health behaviour. RESULTS: Mean DMFT/S values, although higher in the control group, were not significantly different. The reported frequency of brushing was the same in both groups. Significant differences in favour of the intervention group were found in the number of between-meal snacks (P < 0.001) and the proper use of topical fluorides (P < 0.05). Children in the control group showed a significantly lower proportion of filled teeth than those in the intervention group (P < 0.01), with a care index of 73% versus 80%.CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the implemented minimal school-based oral health education programme did not result in a significant reduction of the caries prevalence measured. The programme has been effective in improving reported dietary habits and the proper use of topical fluorides and resulted in a higher care index.