Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of school dental health education on the oral health status, oral health-related knowledge, and practice behavior of 6-12-year-old children.
Methods: Hand search and electronic search based on the keywords on school dental health education in seven search engines till 2017 identified 7434 articles. Trials involving school-based dental health education with a minimum follow-up period of 6 months were screened. Risk of bias assessment was done independently by two authors.
Results: Among the 18 articles which fulfilled the eligibility criteria, six were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 12 were non-RCTs. Quality assessment showed that 12 trials had a low risk of bias. Oral health-related knowledge improved in children. Oral health-related practice behaviors such as frequency and duration of brushing improved. Use of fluoridated toothpaste was increased. Plaque scores and gingival bleeding scores reduced.
Conclusion: School dental health education had a positive impact on the oral health status, knowledge, and practice behavior of children. There is a definite need for high-quality RCTs analyzing the effectiveness of school dental health education on specific oral health outcomes.
Keywords: Oral health education; oral health of schoolchildren; oral health-related knowledge; school dental health education.