1:1       Background of the Study


Dental health care and education have a direct relationship with the whole child‟s health and well being. Studies have shown that appropriate oral health education can help to cultivate oral health practice (Ab-murat& Watt 2006). The change to healthy attitude can beinfluenced by giving adequate information, motivation and practice of the measures to the children (Smyth, Caamano&Femandez-Reveiro 2007). Dental health education is an accepted procedure in schools based on the assumption that the knowledge needed for good dental health practice can result inbehavioural change (Betsey, 1980).Schools therefore, havetheresponsibility to help protect, maintain and improve the health of their students through the school health programmes. This is why the total school health programme is composed of school health services, health education/instruction, nutrition services and healthful school living.

The aspect of school health programme that introduces dental health education is the School health instruction – a planned, sequential curriculum that addresses the physical, mental, emotional and social dimensions of health of school children. It is designed to motivate and assist students to maintain and improve their health, prevent diseases and reduce health related risk behaviour. (Maryland School Health Services, 2006).It allows student to develop and demonstrate health related knowledge, attitude, skills and practices. The comprehensive health instructioncurriculum includes a variety of topics including dental health education where pupils are taught about oral hygiene principles and disease associated with poor dental health care. Therefore, dental health education depends largely upon the acquisition of accurate and useful knowledge concerning good dental health on the part of the students. This becomes successful when the knowledge is put into daily practice resulting in behavioural change.


In dental health as in other instructions, the compilation of facts by the learner is not enough and knowing what to do does not guarantee that it will be done (Ajala, 2005&Cooper, 2002). For example, to know that it is necessary to brush your teeth once or twice daily and actually doing it are two different things completely. In other words people may be aware of the dental ills that are associated with bad oral hygiene and yet fail to maintain it. For dental instruction to be truly successful, a change must result in attitude, habit or skill. This can be achieved by selecting learning experiences that allow the learner to perform the desired behavioural outcomes and a means to evaluate the retention of content covered and changes in behaviour of the learner.

Dental health care measures still include brushing the mouth once or twice daily.This ensures that bacteria and microbes present in the mouth are killed and removed from time to time. The use of chewing stick also helps in cleaning the teeth but not as effective because the oral cavity has a number of space that are very small and narrow where even the bristles of the brush cannot reach, hence flossing becomes an effective mechanism to ensure good dental hygiene and health as it helps to remove food particles and debris between the teeth. (Check dent, 2011). Regular visit to the dentist will also help to detect the onset of dental disease.