Profiling one of the most popular articles published in the International Dental Journal

04 July 2019 Prevention

In 2005, FDI and Unilever Oral Care launched a partnership to raise awareness about oral health globally. Through a 21-day oral health education programme in schools, Brush Day & Night (BDN) teaches children and adults about the benefits of good oral hygiene and shows them how to brush their teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste.

BDN experts Prof. Paulo Melo and Prof. Jo Frencken conducted a longitudinal study on almost 8,000 schoolchildren to evaluate the effectiveness of the 21-day programme.

Results from 7,991 children in 10 countries showed a 25% improvement in twice-daily brushing after 21 days with further improvement seen when the programme was repeated after 6–12 months. The study analysis revealed the effectiveness of the 21-day programme in sustainably educating children to brush their teeth twice a day, with an optimal impact on those aged 7–9 years.

"Brush Day & Night is sustainable because it includes empowering activities that children enjoy. The children play an important role and are rewarded for sharing their knowledge and promoting their good oral health behavior."
Prof. Paulo Melo, FDI Council Member 

FDI sat down with Prof. Paulo Melo to learn more about the BDN programme.

The 21-day BDN programme has been hailed as a ‘sustainable’ solution to improve children’s oral health knowledge and behavior. In your view, what makes the programme sustainable?

"Brush Day & Night is sustainable because it includes empowering activities that children enjoy. The children play an important role and are rewarded for sharing their knowledge and promoting their good oral health behavior. Teachers and other school personnel are also key to the long-term success of the programme—they are well prepared and actively participate in the tooth-brushing workshops in order to help children maintain good brushing habits even when the BDN team is not present. Finally, local responsibility for the programme is important. While it is essential to have toothbrushes and toothpaste available at the start of the project in order to establish good oral health habits, the community (school district, students’ families) or the government should ensure the continuity of these resources.”

The results appear in one of the most-downloaded articles in 2018 on the International Dental Journal (IDJ) website.

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