Effectiveness of Village Health Volunteer using Dental Care Kit for Home Visit in 0-2 Years Old Children

Piyanart Chatiketu, Wasuntharee Kantam, Ubonwan Theerapiboon


Objective:  To compare child oral care behavior by the children’s caregivers before and after home visits with the use of a dental care kit by village health volunteers (VHVs). The oral hygiene of the participating children before and after home visits was also compared.

Material and methods:  All 16 VHVs were trained in oral health and in the use of dental care kits for children at home visits. Caregivers of 32 participating children (aged 0-2 years old) in Sansai District, Chiang Mai Province were instructed once by VHVs in the use of the dental care kits. Data from 32 pairs of participating children and caregivers were collected monthly during the months of March to June 2013. Data on child oral health care behaviors by caregivers were collected by using questionnaires. Oral hygiene determined by plaque index was recorded after oral examination. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, the Cochran Q test, the Friedman test and the Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test.

Results:  This study revealed that the use of dental care kits at home visits by VHVs affected the child oral care behavior of their caregivers and also their oral hygiene. Significant changes of caregivers’ oral care behavior after home visits included decreased pre-chewing and pre-tasting of food, increased use of toothbrush and toothpaste in dentate children, and improved caregivers’ knowledge of vertical transmission (p-value < 0.05). Moreover, the plaque index at the end of the study decreased significantly (p-value < 0.01). Unfortunately, although there was improvement in caregivers’ knowledge about the negative consequences of frequent intake of snacks, the snack consumption increased significantly after intervention (p-value < 0.05).

Conclusions: VHVs are community residents who assist with educating people about proper oral health care to the local community. The use of dental care kits for home visits by them has been shown to be a practical and effective method for improving the oral hygiene of children at ages 0-2 years. This intervention should be further expanded to the national oral health system                             

Keywords:  Village health volunteers (VHVs), Dental care kits, Caregiver’s oral care behavior, Children’s oral hygiene.