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Oral health behavior among school children aged 11–13 years in Saveh, Iran: an evaluation of a theory-driven intervention

journal contribution
posted on 2020-11-12, 20:58 authored by M Karimy, Peter HiggsPeter Higgs, SS Abadi, B Armoon, M Araban, MR Rouhani, F Zamani-Alavijeh
© 2020, The Author(s). Background: Good oral health (OH) is essential for physical, social, mental health, and overall quality of life. This study assessed the usefulness of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) in changing oral health-related behaviors among school children aged 11–13 years in Saveh, Iran. Methods: In this descriptive before and after study, participants were sixth-grade students at single sex primary schools in Saveh city, Iran. We recruited 356 school children in 2019. Using simple random sampling, a male and a female school per district were allocated to the experimental group and the remaining schools to the control group. Our planned oral health education consisted of four one-hour training sessions over 1 week. The first session familiarized the participants with important information about OH. In the second session, we applied a brain storming exercise to identify the benefits and barriers to flossing and brushing. In the third session, a short film about correct brushing and dental flossing technique was shown and research team also used role-playing to correct any mistakes. In the final session students were taught about the importance and the application of OH planning and given forms to help plan for brushing. Results: Participants for the study included 356 students (180 in the experimental group and 176 in the control group) who completed the post-test questionnaire. The mean age ± standard deviation was 11.55 years ±0.93 in the experimental group and 11.58 years ±1.01 in the control group. After the intervention, the paired t-test indicated a significant difference between the mean and standard deviation of the action plan and coping plan constructs in the experimental group before and after the intervention (p < 0.05). Covariance analysis indicated a significant difference between scores of intervention and control groups under statistical control of post-test in two groups (covariate) after a peer-led education program (post-test) (p < 0.05). Conclusion: A shortage of professional health workers in education settings together with the ease, usefulness and low-cost of this peer-led method, suggest further steps should be taken to implement it more widely to improve and enhance primary school aged students’ oral health behavior.


This study has been extracted from a research project, in Saveh University of Medical Sciences which has been supported by Social Determinants of Health Research Center. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.



  • School of Psychology and Public Health

Publication Date



BMC Pediatrics





Article Number



9p. (p. 1-9)


BioMed Central



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