Effect evaluation of an oral health promotion intervention in preschool children

Van den Branden, Sigrid; Van den Broucke, Stephan; Leroy, Roos; Declerck, Dominique; Bogaerts, Kris; Hoppenbrouwers, Karel
December 2014
European Journal of Public Health;Dec2014, Vol. 24 Issue 6, p892
Academic Journal
Objective. This study evaluates the effectiveness of a multi-component oral health intervention in preschool children in a non-randomized intervention study with a complementary baseline control. Methods. Participants in the main study were 2137 children born between October 2003 and July 2004 in Flanders, Belgium. In the intervention group (50.5% of participants), an oral health education program was added to a standard preventive care program during the first 3 years of life. Oral health examinations were performed by trained dentists when the children were 3 (2007) and 5 (2009) years old. Data on dietary habits, oral hygiene habits and dental attendance were obtained through structured questionnaires. Regression analyses were applied to compare the results of the intervention and control group with baseline measurements obtained before the intervention (2003) in other cohorts of 3- (N = 1291) and 5-year-olds (N = 1325) living in the same regions. Results. The prevalence of caries experience was generally lower in the main study compared with the baseline cohorts, with little differences between the intervention and control group. For the oral health-related behaviours, the control group scored mostly better. Nevertheless, compared with baseline, limited differences were observed in dental attendance, tooth brushing, helping with tooth brushing and consuming in-between drinks (P < 0.05). Conclusion. The study illustrates that a multi-component, theory-based intervention at community level had only a limited and temporary effect on oral health-related behaviours in the community under study. Further research is needed to determine how oral health in young children can be improved in the long term.


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