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Original Research

3-Year results of a collaborative school-based oral health program in a remote First Nations community

Submitted: 2 November 2007
Revised: 27 February 2008
Published: 23 April 2008

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Author(s) : Macnab AJ, Rozmus J, Benton D, Gagnon FA.

Andrew Macnab

Citation: Macnab AJ, Rozmus J, Benton D, Gagnon FA.  3-Year results of a collaborative school-based oral health program in a remote First Nations community. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2008; 8: 882. Available: (Accessed 18 October 2017)


Introduction:  Surveys of dental health among Aboriginal children in Canada, using scales such as the Decayed, Missing, and Filled Teeth (DMFT) score, indicate that Aboriginal children have 2 to 3 times poorer oral health compared with other populations. A remote First Nations community approached requested assistance in addressing the health of their children. The objective was to work with the community to improve oral health and knowledge among school children. The hypothesis formulated was that after 3 years of the program there would be a significant decrease in dmft/DMFT (primary/permanent) score.
Methods:  This was a cross-sectional study of all school-aged children in a small, remote First Nations community. Pre- and post- intervention evaluation of oral health was conducted by a dentist not involved in the study. The intervention consisted of a school-based program with daily brush-ins, fluoride application, educational presentations, and a recognition/incentive scheme.
Results:  Twenty-six children were assessed prior to the intervention, representing 45% of the 58 children then in the community. All 40 children in the community were assessed following the intervention. Prior to the intervention, 8% of children were cavity free. Following 3 years of the intervention, 32% were cavity free. Among the 13 children assessed both pre- and post-intervention, dmft/DMFT score improved significantly (p <0.005). The visiting hygienist noted increased knowledge about oral health.
Conclusion:  A community- and university-supported, school-based, collaborative oral health program improved oral health and knowledge among children in a remote First Nations community.

Key words:  Aboriginal, caries, child, dental health, Indian, school, remote.

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