Study to Examine Effectiveness of School Toothbrushing Program

Dentistry Today


The FDI World Dental Federation and Unilever are launching a study of their Brush Day & Night (BDN) program to see how effectively it has been in getting children to practice better oral hygiene.

Approximately 486 million children around the world have decay in their primary teeth, FDI said. Also, tooth decay is the world’s most widespread disease, and toothache is often the first reason why children miss school.

In 2005, FDI and Unilever launched BDN to teach children that toothbrushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day is one of the most important habits for good oral health and general health through a 21-day program in schools.

Since its launch, BDN has reached more than 136 million people in 40 countries. It also helps children become advocates for oral health and spread the message of good oral health to their families and friends, FDI said.

Over its four phases, BDN also has worked with national dental associations to leverage World Oral Health Day and raise awareness about good oral health. The new study will analyze BDN for the first time using a set of control schools.

The study will be a two-arm superiority randomized controlled trial. Clusters will be schools in Indonesia and Nigeria. It aims to recruit 20 schools with children between the ages of 6 and 9 in each country.

At baseline, children in the intervention and control schools will answer a questionnaire and have their clinical oral health assessed using the Simplified Oral Hygiene Index (OHI) and Decayed Missing and Filled Teeth Index.

Children in the intervention schools will take part in a structured 21-day BDN intervention. Children in the control schools will receive free toothpaste and toothbrushes but will not receive the 21-day intervention.

The questionnaires and OHI assessments will be repeated after the 21-day program is completed and again eight weeks and 24 weeks later for all participating children.

Parents, caregivers, and guardians of all children will sign the informed consent form and complete questionnaires on their own experience and attitudes toward oral health and toothbrushing routine at each of the four time points.

The study will be conducted by the national dental associations of Indonesia and Nigeria and was approved by the ethics committees of both countries.

The researchers expect the results to help strengthen BDN’s effectiveness and increase the well-being of children and their families. They aim to publish the full results in a special edition of the International Dental Journal later this year.

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