Effectiveness of a School-Based Oral Health Program among Primary School Pupils in Dodoma Municipality, Tanzania.

Mdoe Francis R, Njau Bernard, Mushi Declare
Publication year: 

Background: School-based oral health programmes are effective in improving practices and health outcomes of pupils. School's oral health programmes can help children to adopt healthier lifestyles and become agents of change in the community. This paper assessed the effectiveness of School Oral Health programme at Ntyuka primary school in Tanzania.

Methods: A pre- and post comparison study which used quantitative method was conducted. A total of 300 pupils (168 females, 132 males) were selected by systematic sampling method. A WHO oral health assessment form was used to assess oral health status.

Results: Good oral hygiene practices improved from 44.3% in 2007 to 54.7% in 2010 (χ2=6.41; p< 0.05). No significant difference on use of traditional and modern tooth brush was found. There was an improvement in oral health status, though the mean Decayed Missing and Filled Teeth (DMFT) slightly increased from 0.3 to 0.4. There was a significant increase in level of knowledge on causes for dental caries from 47.7% to 88% [p<0.001]; and gingivitis from 45.7% to 56.7% [p<0.01]. Knowledge on prevention of dental caries and gingivitis significantly increased from 59.3% to 78%; [p< 0.001]. Pupils who attended dental clinic for treatment increased from 5.4% in 2007, to 14% in 2008 and 17.6% in 2009 (χ2= 68.15; p < 0.001).

Conclusion: School Oral Health programme can effectively improve knowledge, practices and oral health status. School oral health programmes therefore provide an appropriate platform for a sustainable oral health promotion that could have a wider impact in the country.