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Oral Health & Preventive Dentistry



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Oral Health Prev Dent 15 (2017), No. 3     7. July 2017
Oral Health Prev Dent 15 (2017), No. 3  (07.07.2017)

Page 229-236, doi:10.3290/j.ohpd.a38159, PubMed:28530006

Kindergarten/Elementary School Teachers and Web-based Oral Health-Related Resources: An Exploration
Inglehart, Marita Rohr / Zuzo, Gabrielle A. / Wilson, Joshua J.
Purpose: The percentage of U.S. children with poor oral health continues to be high. Kindergarten/elementary school educators could play an important role in teaching students about oral health promotion. The objectives were to assess which oral health-related web-based resources teachers consider most helpful and how teachers' attitudes, knowledge, and behavioural intentions concerning oral health-related teaching change between before and after having access to a resource website.
Materials and Methods: Web-based survey data were collected from 95 kindergarten/elementary school educators before and after they accessed a website with oral health-related information for teachers (web-link: http://media.dent.umich.edu/teachoralhealth/index.html).
Results: Most teachers accessed lesson plans about 'Teeth and smiling' (90%) and 'Taking care of your teeth' (88%) and the fewest accessed information about 'Nutrition and health' (42%) and 'Information for parents' (39%). On average, all materials were perceived as useful (5-point scale with 5 = 'very useful', range = 3.80 to 4.04). Responses to the question on how important dental health is for a child's ability to learn improved significantly from before to after the educational intervention (5-point scale with 5 = 'very important', 3.78 vs 4.44). Knowledge increased and behavioural intentions improved as well. The percentage of teachers who reported that they had included oral health-related material in the past was 47% and the percentage who intended to include it in the future was 65% (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Providing kindergarten/elementary school educators with web-based resource materials improves their attitudes, increases their knowledge and leads to positive behavioural intentions concerning educating their students about oral health.

Keywords: child, dental health education, online learning, oral health, school teachers, web-based education