Dental health education by “barefoot doctors”


B. Hager, Department of Cariology, University of Gothenburg, Box 33070, S-400 33 Gothenburg, Sweden.


Abstract In an insurance company 18 out of 507 employees were trained as dental health educators. They then informed their fellow workers about prevention of caries and periodontal disease in groups of about 10 persons. Two information meetings were held during a period of 10 months. Eighty-nine percent of the employees were positive to this educational programme. Twenty-two percent said that they had reduced the intake of sucrose after the first meeting. Even more persons reduced their sucrose intake later. Saliva secretion rate and buffer capacity were analyzed and the number of lactobacilli and Streptococcus mutans were determined before and alter the information meetings. A significant reduction in the number of lactobacilli was found, confirming the change in carbohydrate intake. The information raised the level of knowledge about dental health among the employees. It was suggested that this type of educational programme should be used in other health areas.