Dental Health Program in Schools

Dental Health Program in SchoolsDental Health Program in Schools

The first phase of the national scheme ‘ fluoride varnish therapy’ for school students has achieved 90% coverage so far, said Hamid Samadzadeh, head of Oral and Dental Hygiene Department at the Health Ministry.

Based on an agreement between the health and education ministries, the scheme for students in the 6-14 years age groups was inaugurated at the beginning of the academic year (started Sept. 23, 2015).

Six million out of seven million students were covered under the program in October and November, he was quoted as saying by Khabaronline news website.

Fluoride varnish is a highly concentrated form of fluoride which is applied to the tooth’s surface by a dentist, dental hygienist or other healthcare professional, as a type of topical fluoride therapy to protect them from cavities. It is not a permanent varnish but due to its adherent nature it is able to stay in contact with the tooth surface for long and is used to help prevent decay, remineralise the tooth surface and to treat dentine hypersensitivity.

Software has also been launched in which students’ oral and dental health data will be recorded for future reference, Samadzadeh said.

“Data collection will help identify their requirements, and services will be offered based on it.”

Studies show that the DMFT index (Decayed-Missing-Filled Teeth) is 2.09 among Iranian students at present which is expected to reduced to one following the completion of the scheme by the end of February.

“Our goal is to minimize tooth decay among students and for this purpose several health centers have been upgraded, with some operating two shifts now,” he said.

Earlier, more than 90% of dental services were provided by the private sector, but the Health Ministry plans to enhance its role in oral health by upgrading 3,000 clinics.

The second phase of the project scheduled for March and April involves treatment services for students with decayed teeth.

“We must proceed from school to school and grade to grade to achieve the desired results,” said the official.

Statistics of the World Health Organization show that oral hygiene is still a major problem in many countries and 60 to 90% of students and almost all adults suffer from some form of tooth decay.