Promoting Oral Health through Programs in Middle Childhood and Adolescence

Authors: Habib Benzian, Renu Garg, Bella Monse, Nicole Stauf, Benoit Varenne


This chapter describes oral disease control priorities for school-age children and adolescents ages 5–19 years, who worldwide suffer from a significant and largely preventable burden of oral diseases, particularly dental caries. The consequences affect well-being and quality of life, general health, school performance, and social interactions. Preventing oral diseases with simple and cost-effective population-wide interventions remains possible, even in resource-constrained low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and schools prove ideal platforms for reaching children. Recommended approaches require action at the school, community, and policy levels, and include (1) prioritization of schools as health-promoting settings where skills-based and high-impact interventions, such as daily toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste, can find implementation as part of integrated school health; (2) increased advocacy to emphasize the burden and consequences of oral diseases to prioritize interventions for prevention and control in LMICs; and (3) development of concepts, practical implementation models, evaluation tools, and related national capacity for cost-effective best-buy interventions to address caries and other priority oral diseases in LMICs.



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