Purpose: While parents are the primary caregivers, school teachers can play a crucial role in shaping the personality and lifestyle of children during the elementary school years. The aims of this study were to evaluate the oral health knowledge of elementary school teachers and to assess their attitude towards oral health education and its implementation in the elementary school curriculum.
Schlagwörter: attitude, elementary school teachers, knowledge, oral health education
Materials and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among 1200 teachers working in government elementary schools. Data were collected through a structured, self-administered questionnaire consisting of teachers’ demographic data and their responses to knowledge and attitude questions.
Results: A total of 1031 teachers participated in this study, with a response rate of 86%. About two-thirds (66%) of the participants demonstrated high oral health knowledge. Participants’ educational level was statistically significantly associated with their oral health knowledge. Almost all the participants (90%) agreed that oral health education should be included in the elementary school curriculum. More than two-thirds of the participants (74%) showed willingness to participate in online courses to promote oral health among elementary school children.
Conclusion: Considering their oral health knowledge, positive attitude, teaching experience, and the fact that they have the potential to reach a large number of children and establish consistency and continuity in providing educational instructions, elementary school teachers should be encouraged to become involved in promoting oral health to elementary school children as a part of the teaching system. Such an approach is a good strategy to improve children’s oral health and therefore reduce the burden of preventable oral diseases – dental caries and periodontal disease – worldwide.