Oral health

Effect of a school-based oral health education programme in Wuhan City, Peoples Republic of China

International Dental Journal (2004) 54, 33-41
Poul Erik Petersen (Geneva, Switzerland)
Bin Peng, Baojun Tai, Zhuan Bian and Mingwen Fan (Wuhan, China)

Objectives

To assess oral health outcomes of a school-based oral health education (OHE) programme on children, mothers and schoolteachers in China, and to evaluate the methods applied and materials used.

Design

The WHO Health Promoting Schools Project applied to primary schoolchildren in 3 experimental and 3 control schools in Hongshan District, Wuhan City, Central China, with a 3-year follow-up. Data on dental caries, gingival bleeding and behaviour were collected.

Participants

803 children and their mothers, and 369 teachers were included at baseline in 1998. After three years, 666 children and their mothers (response rate 83%), and 347 teachers (response rate 94%) remained.

Results

DMFT/DMFS increments were comparable but the f/F components were higher among children in experimental schools than in control schools and the gingival bleeding score was, similarly, significantly lower. More children in experimental schools adopted regular oral health behaviour such as toothbrushing, recent dental visits, use of fluoride toothpaste, with less frequent consumption of cakes/biscuits compared to controls. In experimental schools, mothers showed significant beneficial oral health developments, while teachers showed higher oral health knowledge and more positive attitudes, also being satisfied with training workshops, methods applied, materials used and involvement with children in OHE.

Conclusions

The programme had positive effects on gingival bleeding score and oral health behaviour of children, and on oral health knowledge and attitudes of mothers and teachers. No positive effect on dental caries incidence rate was demonstrated by the OHE programme.

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