Feasibility of Implementation of an Oral Health Education Program in Prevention of Early Childhood Caries among 1-6 yrs Old Children Utilizing the Services of Anganwadi Health Workers

Ashima Goyal, Krishan Gauba

Background: To assess the feasibility of implementation of an oral health education program in 1-6 year children of rural areas of Chandigarh utilizing the services of Anganwadi workers

Methods: Children of slum areas around Chandigarh having 19 Anganwadi centres in its vicinity were selected for the study. 25-30 children aged 1-6 years were available in each anganwadi center. Baseline oral health status of these 395 children was recorded viz. dental caries as per WHO index 2013 and gingival health as per modified Loe and Sillness index (1963).

Caries activity of the 4-6 year children and the mothers visiting the anganwadi centres was also evaluated using the Snyder test. A specially prepared KAP questionnaire was filled for the anganwadi workers and the mothers of the children by the dentists recruited in the project.

Oral health education including etiology and prevention of early childhood caries was imparted to the anganwadi workers by the dentists. The trained anganwadi workers regularly educated the mothers attending the anganwadi centres regarding good oral health practices. Application of 10% Povidone iodine and fluoride varnish (once in three month) was done on teeth of all the 1-6 year children visiting the anganwadi centres.

Results: The Knowledge, Attitude and practice regarding oral health of the anganwadi workers and mothers of 1-6 year children improved significantly one year after the training and motivation sessions. Oral health status of the children and caries activity was also improved after the implementation of the oral health education program.

Conclusions: Based on the results of this pilot project, a national level research project has been sanctioned by Indian Council of Medical Reserach for studying the effectivness of this methodology in different states of India

Ashima Goyal