Introduction: The dental caries in preschool children living in underserved remote rural areas in Thailand is a dental public health problem. The limited access to dental care contributes to the significance of an effective oral health promotion program that based on resources available in these areas.
Objectives: To reduce dental caries rate and risk behaviours in pre-school children as well as to increase oral care knowledge and attitude of child-caretakers living in underserved rural areas.
Method: A pilot community-based oral health promotion program was launched in Srimongkol Sub-district, Kanchanaburi Province. The program included tooth brushing after lunch, limited cariogenic snacking during school time, oral health educational games, fluoride varnish application every six months by dental nurses in school setting, and mass media oral health campaign in the village.
Results: A three-year evaluation compared caries experiences of 40 children at year-three in a childcare center at the evaluation year (Program group, PG) with 18 children at year-three at the beginning of the program (Control group, CG). The PG children were slightly older than the CG children (73.6±7.6 vs. 69.4±4.1 months; p<.05). The dmft of the PG children was 8.8±4.3, significantly lower than 12.1±4.4 of the CG children (p<.01). However, the new caries rate was 3.0±2.6 teeth in three years. Of the PG children, the percentages of parents who had increased knowledge on child oral care were 64.3 – 90.9%, the percentage who thought that primary teeth were important increased 55.6%, and the percentage who believed that he/she could prevent caries in his/her child increased 20.0%.
Conclusion: Children who joined the program had significantly lower caries experience compared to the control group and the parents had better knowledge and attitude about child oral care at evaluation year. A controlled field study with larger number of children and a cost-effectiveness study are indicated.
10th IADR World Congress on Preventive Dentistry (WCPD), Budapest, 9–12 October 2013