Objectives: To evaluate the effect of a 2-year oral health education and caries prevention program implemented in kindergartens in China.
Methods: Seven hundred and thirty-one 3-year-old children were recruited from 10 kindergartens in Miyun County, Beijing, China. The kindergartens were randomly divided into two groups. Oral health education was provided to teachers in the test kindergartens every 3 months. Oral health education sessions were conducted for the test children monthly and for their parents semiannually. Children in the test kindergarten brushed their teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste (1100 ppm F-) in their kindergarten under the supervision of teachers during weekdays. No oral health education session and no supervised tooth brushing activities were carried out in the control kindergartens. A clinical examination of the study children and a questionnaire survey of their parents were conducted at baseline and after a 2-year program.
Results: Five hundred and fourteen children remained in the study after 2 years. The mean caries increments of the test group (n = 258) and the control group (n = 256) were 2.47 and 3.56 dmfs, respectively. The reduction in dmfs increment was 30.6% (P = 0.009). At the evaluation, a significantly higher percentage of children in the test group than in the control group reported brushing their teeth twice a day (87.6% vs. 69.0%; P < 0.001). Parents of children in the test group had better oral health knowledge and attitude than the parents of children in the control group.
Conclusion: This oral health education program was effective in establishing good oral health habits among preschool children and in increasing oral health knowledge of their parents, in conjunction with supervised daily tooth brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, which could reduce the development of new dental caries in preschool children in China.