BMC Oral Health
Background: School based oral health education through traditional lecturing has been found successful only in improving oral health knowledge, while has low effectiveness in oral hygiene and gingival health. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of experiential learning (EL) oral health education to traditional lecturing (TL), on enhancing oral health knowledge, attitude and behavior as well as oral hygiene, gingival health and caries of 10-year-old children.
Methods: Eighty-four children were recruited for the EL and 100 for the TL group from 3 locations in Greece. Data regarding oral health knowledge, attitude and behavior were collected via questionnaires. Data regarding dental plaque, gingivitis and caries were collected by clinical examination. The evaluation using questionnaires and clinical examination was assessed at baseline and 6 and 18 months afterwards. Two calibrated pediatric dentists examined the students using a periodontal probe and artificial light. Modified hygiene index (HI) was used for dental plaque recording, the simplified gingival index (GI-S) was used for gingivitis and DMFT, based on BASCD criteria, for dental caries. Based on a dedicated manual, the teacher applied in the classroom the oral health educational program using EL.
Results: EL group had statistically significant better hygiene than the TL at 6 months (p < 0.05). Within the same group, both groups had enhanced oral health knowledge at 6 and 18 months (p < 0.05) and improved oral health behavior (p > 0.05) and attitude (p > 0.05) at 6 months in comparison to baseline.
Conclusion: EL program was found more successful than TL in oral hygiene improvement. Both oral health education programs improved the oral health knowledge, attitude and behavior of children.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02320162).
Keywords: Oral health education, Experiential learning, Primary school, Oral hygiene, Traditional lecturing
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