To investigate the influence of educational activity in the school environment based on prescriptive and subjective oral health indicators.
Cross-sectional, comparative study involving students between 9 and 12 years of age, from schools that have educational activities and those that do not, designated schools A and B. The oral health indicators used were the Simplified Oral Hygiene Index (OHI-S) and the Community Periodontal Index (CPITN). Knowledge and attitudes with regard to oral health were evaluated using a structured questionnaire.
A total of 289 schoolchildren took part, 50.5% from school A and 49.5% from school B, in the town of Montes Claros, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. In school A, the schoolchildren’s OHI-S was satisfactory for 9.6%, normal for 78.8% and deficient for 11.6%, while in school B, the respective percentages were 3.5%, 17.5% and 79% (chi-squared, P < 0.001). The students in school A showed better CPITN results, namely lack of bleeding for 61.6%, the presence of bleeding for 29.5% and presence of tartar for 8.9%, while in school B, the respective results were 25.2%, 45.5% and 29.4% (chi-squared, P < 0.001). Students in school A achieved more correct answers in questions that evaluated knowledge of oral health. The account of daily use of dental floss in school A was 21.7% and in B, 3.6% (chi-squared, P < 0.001).
It is believed that educational activity in the school environment had a positive effect on oral health conditions, the consolidation of knowledge and incorporation of oral hygiene habits.