The influence of an oral health education program provided in a community dental clinic on the prevalence of caries among 12-14 year-old children

Moti Moskovitz*, Wassim Abud, Diana Ram

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of an oral health education program when given in a public dental clinic, by assessing caries and restorations.Methods: This was done by assessing changes in caries prevalence in the mouth of children aged 12 to 14 year- old. Data was obtained from files of patients treated in the Dental Volunteers for Israel (DVI) clinic in Jerusalem. Children must prove understanding and also application of what they learned in the educational program in order to receive restorative dental treatment.Results: 280 children were included in the intervention group. The control group constituted 173 children who had never had any restorative treatment in the DVI clinic. The extent of caries surfaces differed greatly between the intervention and the control groups. 35.2% of the control group, and as many as 64% of the intervention group had low caries (DMFS< 3). The situation is reversed when comparing the difference in the restored teeth surfaces between the two groups- 56.6% of the control group had no restorations and 66.2% of the children in the intervention group had treated teeth. DMFS scores reveal fewer differences between the two groups. The mean carious surface was 1.8 times greater in the control group, and the restored surfaces were 2.1 times greater for the intervention children. Nevertheless when comparing DMFS means between control and intervention groups t-test result shows no statistical significant difference for the slightly lower DMFS levels in the intervention group.Conclusions: This study shows that even a comprehensive preventive program given by professional personnel, followed by free dental treatment, is not enough to improve dental health status for children from a lower socioeconomic class. Still, a consideration of the ethical responsibility of the profession to educate children about oral diseases and their prevention should be carried out, irrespective of the implementation of the knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-264
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Community dental clinic
  • Oral health
  • Tooth decay


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