Effectiveness of two school-based caries preventive programmes.
Although the efficacy of school-based preventive programmes is well established, their effectiveness under conditions prevailing in the community require further exploration. A longitudinal study was conducted to assess the community effectiveness of two school-based caries preventive programmes. A group of 150 primary school pupils, 10-15 years old were randomly selected from each of three primary schools (Dagbreek, Vergesig, De Villiers) in the Boland town of Robertson. The sample comprised 75 10-12 year-olds and 25 in each of the 13, 14 and 15 year age groups. The 75 (10-12 year-olds) constituted the experimental cohort, which was to be followed up over a period of 3 years and compared to the 13-15 year-olds, the control or baseline cohort. The experimental cohort in Vergesig was exposed to a daily toothbrushing programme with a fluoride dentifrice, the Dagbreek children were exposed to the same regimen plus a weekly 0.2 per cent fluoride rinse and the De Villiers cohort acted as a control group for contamination and co-intervention. The DMFT index (WHO, 1987) was used as a caries measure. Dagbreek showed a reduction of 0.96 DMFT (14.2 per cent) and Vergesig of 1.85 DMFT (24.5 per cent). The difference is attributed to a higher baseline DMFT at Vergesig. The weekly fluoride rinse did not confer any additional benefit. Although the caries reduction was lower than that generally found in clinical trials, the two intervention programmes were cost-effective.