This paper describes an innovative public health intervention, called 'Smile Grenada', targeting the oral health of children in Grenada utilizing the resources of a US dental school, several oral health care companies, local governmental and public health authorities, and Grenadian school personnel. Methods: Preintervention visual/tactile caries examinations were collected from 1,092 schoolchildren (mean age 9.9 years, standard deviation, SD = 3.7) in 2010. The intervention included: (1) classroom-based toothbrushing with fluoridated toothpaste, (2) fluoride varnish applied by trained dental students, teachers and local providers 3 times a year and (3) glass ionomer sealants placed on first permanent molars in children aged 6-8 years. Postintervention data were collected in May, 2013 (n = 2,301, mean age 9.8 years, SD = 3.7). Decayed and demineralized surfaces were examined for the whole sample and decay/demineralization and sealant retention on 6-year molars were examined separately (ages 6-8 in 2013 cohort). Results: The number of decayed/demineralized surfaces declined across all age groups. The average number of decayed surfaces dropped from 9 at baseline to just over 6 (F1, 3,393 = 69.8, p < 0.0001) and the average number of demineralized surfaces dropped from 6 to less than 2 (1.8 surfaces; F1, 3,393 = 819.0, p < 0.0001). For children aged 6-8 years, there were statistically significantly fewer decayed surfaces (t1, 2,086 = 12.40, p < 0.0001; mean baseline 0.93, SD = 1.75; mean follow-up 0.23, SD = 0.83) and demineralized surfaces (t1, 2,086 = 19.7, p < 0.0001; mean baseline 2.11, SD = 2.74; mean follow-up 0.50, SD = 0.97) on 6-year molars. The Smile Grenada program successfully demonstrated a locally sustainable model for improving oral health in children in a developing country.
- Fluoride varnish as a public health intervention
- Oral health workforce diversification
- Public health intervention
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