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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 57-60
Dental health education and the role of teachers in imparting oral health education in Indian schools

Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital, Alapakkam main road, Maduravoyal, Chennai - 600 095, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication17-Aug-2016

How to cite this article:
Preethi S. Dental health education and the role of teachers in imparting oral health education in Indian schools. J Educ Ethics Dent 2015;5:57-60

How to cite this URL:
Preethi S. Dental health education and the role of teachers in imparting oral health education in Indian schools. J Educ Ethics Dent [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Mar 7];5:57-60. Available from: https://www.jeed.in/text.asp?2015/5/2/57/188573

Teachers are the cornerstones in imparting health education as children spend most of their time in schools but the real question is "Are the teachers knowledgeable and trained enough about health education especially about dental health education?" Children are subjected to more sugary foods compared to elders who will result in dental caries and gum diseases at an early age if proper care is not taken. The time spent by the students in schools can be utilized for promoting dental health care activities by teachers to provide a caries-free and disease free mouth in children.

   The Most Effective and Essential Way of Improving the Oral Health Status Education Top

Chachra S, Dhawan P, Kaur T, Sharma AK

J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2011;29:216-21

Dental caries and periodontal diseases are prevalent all over the world, but approaches for these oral problems are more reparative than preventive. With limited resources in a country like India, the effective method to prevent these problems would be through health education in schools.

972 students under the age of 5-16 years were selected for this study. They were divided into four groups. Group A consisted of controls, Group B with direct communication with dentist, Group C with indirect communication by training school teachers by dentists and Group D with indirect communication by training members of social organization who trained school teachers.

The study was done for 6 months and consisted of teaching material about oral health education, tooth brushing demonstration techniques, fluoride mouth rinses and knowledge, attitude and practices questionnaire was provided for post and pre-evaluation. The results showed a positive outcome after 6 months in terms of knowledge about oral hygiene, usage of fluoride dentifrice, sugar intake per day in all the four Groups. A significant reduction in the prevalence of dental caries was seen in Group B and D compared to C. This study showed that the group under the direct communication of dentist showed better results compared to the other groups. However, even the other approaches were effective in implementing the oral health preventive package which showed better results in 6 months duration. Therefore, community-based health education programs also can prove to be effective and efficient to improve the oral health status of the children. School teachers can be trained by social organization and dentists to help impart the knowledge to the students.

   Oral Health Acquaintance, Approach and Practices among School Teachers in Bhopal, Central India Top

Amit Vanka, Naveen S Yadav, Vrinda Saxena, S Sahana, G Shanti, GC Shivakumar

Journal of Orofacial Research, January-March 2012;2:15-19

Promoting knowledge about the causes and prevention of oral diseases has become an important responsibility of school teachers. National Oral Health Care Program states that when teacher(s) brush their teeth, students follow the suit and it becomes a daily exercise routine for them. This can encourage the link between education and healthy habits as it shapes the individuals way of life and personality. A stratified random sampling of 305 teachers was done from 14 schools in Bhopal. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire. It was shown that more than half of the private school teachers use fluoridated toothpaste compared to the government school teachers. Nearly half of the study sample of teachers did not know about gum disease or dental caries. The teachers in the present study followed the regimen of daily brushing which would help them to impart knowledge to the children.

The findings of the present study showed that the school teachers in both schools, at least a half showed the interest and attempted on imparting the knowledge of oral health education. Manuals of oral health can be designed for the teachers, which could benefit the school children in return. This study highlighted on the need of increased oral health promotion of school teachers which can benefit the children by improving the oral health of the child and a resultant disease free mouth.

   The Use of School Teachers to Promote Oral Hygiene in Some Secondary School Students at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India: A Short Term Prospective Pilot Study Top

Byalakere R. Chandrashekar, Shankarappa Suma, Kaverikana Kiran, Badhravathi C. Manjunath

J Family Community Med 2012;19:184-189

Schools help in promoting health and oral health for students, which benefit the staff, family and community indirectly. Since school children are more prone to dental caries and gingival diseases, the authors planned a pilot study to assess the utilization of school teachers in oral health care programs. Six government schools with no history of oral health care programs were selected along with the list of teachers. Thirty two school teachers were trained by one investigator regarding theoretical and practical demonstration to assess calculus deposits, debris, brushing techniques, operation chair position in daylight, cheek retraction and so on. Health education was provided by the investigators and teachers to the students. Preliminary examination of Oral hygiene index and plaque index was done by the investigators.

The six schools of ninth standard students were divided into three groups of two schools with different intervention techniques. Group 1 consisting of Schools with no health education, Group 2 consisting of Schools with health education provided by their school teachers on a fortnightly basis along with screening for calculus deposits, Group 3 consisting of Schools who were provided health education by dental professionals at 3 months interval without any screening. Following this 6 months period the second examination was done for oral hygiene and plaque scores. The results revealed that there was a significant difference in both the indexes pre and post intervention. Group 2 showed better improvements probably due to the frequent intervention and motivation by teachers, which might have brought about the desirable change in the behavior.

School teachers can provide dental health education and screening for any gross deposits of food and calculus. This proves to be a feasible and more effective way of imparting and educating children for good oral hygiene. In India, which is developing, programs can be organized to train teachers on a short-term basis. This can be incorporated as part of the curriculum which can bring about a change in oral hygiene behavior which in turn can bring about a change in lifestyle practices.

   Impact of School-Based Oral Health Education Programs in India: A Systematic Review Top

Ramandeep Singh Gambhir, Ramandeep KaurSohi, Tarun Nanda, Gurjashan Singh Sawhney, Saniya Setia

Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research 2013;7:3107-3110

The most favorable environment to impart oral health education to children is schools. There is limited published literature that evaluates and demonstrates the impact and effectiveness of school-based oral health education programs. A review of the literature was carried out by the authors to assess the impact of the oral health care programs carried out in various parts of India. Published literature between 1992 and 2012 were taken out of which 10 studies were shortlisted for this assessment. The review showed a positive outcome of the school dental health education programs with respect to plaque and gingival health, dental caries and its likes. The principles used in the studies ranged from simple provision of information to use posters, audiovisual aids and other didactic materials to support the dental health education activities. This review also revealed that these studies on school dental health education programs were majorly carried out in South India compared to Northern, Western and North-Eastern part of India.

According to the literature, socio-economic status can influence the awareness of the children regarding oral health. It was shown that children in high socio-economic studying in private schools had better awareness pertaining to oral health. Therefore, the authors emphasized that government schools should be targeted more often for dental health programs as compared to private or aided school and also state level or district level studies or education programs can be carried out to address this current situation in India.

   Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of School Teachers toward Oral Health in Pondicherry Top

Vidya Sekhar, Sivsankar P, Easwaran MA, Subitha L, Bharath N, Rajeswary K, Jeyalakshmi S

Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research 2014;8:ZC12-ZC15

School teachers can play a major role in imparting dental health education to children by playing a vital role in planning and implementing oral health preventive programs. Since children spend a considerable amount of time with teachers during their school education, it becomes the responsibility of the teachers, by virtue of their training to impart such knowledge to the children. Keeping this idea in mind a study was conducted by Vidhya Sekar et al. in Pondicherry among 212 teachers to assess their knowledge, attitude and practice regarding oral health care. The questionnaire included causes of tooth decay and gum problems and their prevention, causes of malocclusion, brushing habits, use of fluoride on the teeth, the effects of soft drinks on the teeth and so on. The results showed a little above 50% of teachers agreed upon their role in imparting oral health education to students, and <50% teachers knew the causative factor of dental caries and periodontitis. The knowledge pertaining to gingival disease and treatment were poor. The attitude toward maintenance of oral hygiene was also limited.

This study was undertaken to show the awareness among teachers and their role in school children's dental health as school-based primary health care is the most effective way of providing health service. The "National oral health policy" in 1995 emphasized on the basic and minimum oral health extended to the Indian population starting with primary and secondary schools. Teachers training program can be devoted in each school for an hour to train the teachers about brushing techniques and good habits that would help them in promoting oral health care to the students as children can serve as ambassadors in spreading oral health care messages to the community.

   Oral Health Promotion among Rural School Children through Teachers: An Interventional Study Top

Byalakere Rudraiah Chandrashekar, Shankarappa Suma, Jagadeeswara Rao Sukhabogi, Bhadravathi Cheluvaiah Manjunath, Amitabh Kallury

Indian J Public Health 2014;58:235-40

An interventional study was conducted by the authors in the district of Nalgonda, Andhra Pradesh to assess and compare the gingival, plaque, dental caries and oral health status of children receiving dental education through dentists and school teachers with or without oral hygiene aids. 160 students from four schools were selected and grouped into four and the oral hygiene status was assessed at baseline and after 6 months. Group I consisting of students without dental health education except at the time of screening, Group II with students who were receiving Dental Health education at 3 months interval by the dentist through audio-visual aids, group III had dental health education provided by their school teachers on fortnightly basis with screening of calculus deposits and debris and Group IV was similar to Group III who were additionally provided with tooth brush and paste.

The results revealed significant reduction in pre-intervention and post-intervention Oral hygiene, plaque and gingival index in Group 4, followed by Group 3. Intervention at 6 months duration by dentists did not contribute significantly to the oral hygiene index, plaque and gingival index in Group I and II in contrast to Group III and IV. Continuous reinforcement by teachers on a fortnightly basis would have helped the students to improve their oral hygiene status to get praised by the teachers. The additional supply of free oral hygiene aids would have motivated the children in maintaining a good oral hygiene. Significant difference was not seen in dental caries index as caries is a chronic disease, and no significant difference would have been observed in a study of 6 months duration. However, the benefits acquired through improved oral hygiene can help in future caries prevention. Hence, this study calls for the utilization of teachers in promoting oral hygiene practices along with the provision of free or low-cost dental aids in achieving a quality dental health status among school children.

   Comparing the Oral Health Promoting Role and Knowledge of Government and Private Primary School Teachers in Mathura City Top

Ramen Haloi, Navin Anand Ingle, Navpreet Kaur, Rahul Gupta

International Journal of Scientific Study 2014;1:9-14

Oral cavity can reflect a wide array of systemic diseases, and any impairment can help us to identify or warn us about the upcoming systemic problems. Teachers are capable of influencing the children attitude and behavior at school level. Oral health preventive programs can be proved effective through teachers who can be trained, in turn can teach and influence children and their parents. However, this can be possible if the teachers are informed and kept updated regarding the oral health programs. Through various studies conducted in Romania, China and Saudi Arabia it was seen that positive attitude can be brought about in school teachers toward school dental health education and also showed their willingness to participate in oral health promotion.

The study consisted of 167 teachers in the age group of 15-64 years primary schools of Mathura city which was divided into five geographical zones. A questionnaire was given regarding knowledge about oral health and the role of teachers in promoting oral health. It was seen that the private school teachers had better knowledge about oral health education compared to the government school teachers whereas the former supported separate class time for dental health compared to private school teachers. Private school teachers were favorable about advancing students regarding advertisement of sugar products in contrast to the government school teachers. The difference in the knowledge level could be because of the difference in education level among the school teachers where most of the teachers in private schools were post graduates in comparison. This study showed a positive response of the teachers of both private and government schools and showed their involvement in oral health education. If the teachers are properly trained and supported by the dentists they can bring about a change in the attitude and behavior of students in our country.

Correspondence Address:
Dr. S Preethi
Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital, Alapakkam main road, Maduravoyal, Chennai - 600 095, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0974-7761.188573

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