Oral Health and Hygiene

Oral Health and Hygiene Project

The Oral Health and Hygiene Projectis now working toward ensuring equitable access and delivery of oral health care services to the whole population.

The Earth Institute and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have previously collaborated to promote personal hygiene and sanitation in the Millennium Villages. Building upon the successes of this project, GSK and the Earth Institute are now collaborating on a new oral health and hygiene initiatives.

Goals of the Oral Health and Hygiene Project

The goals of the Oral Health and Hygiene Project center on decreasing the burden of oral disease and increasing equitable and timely access to oral health services, both preventative and curative, in communities. The project also seeks to monitor oral health disease trends within the community and to develop evidence-based oral health policies that can be scaled up to the regional and national level. By working with stakeholders at the community, national, and international level, the project seeks to promote oral health and the prevention of oral diseases and place oral health on the international health care agenda.

  • To decrease the burden of oral disease in the community
  • To increase equitable and timely access to oral health services, both preventive and curative
  • To monitor oral health disease trends within the community
  • To develop evidence based oral health policies that can be scaled up to the regional and national level
  • To promote oral health and prevention of oral diseases in the community with relevant stakeholders
  • To place oral health on the national and international agendas

The oral health initiative is based on scientific research on the state oral health and hygiene practice and needs at each site, which informs specific preventative and curative activities for each site. These advancements provide a solid base of science and practice to influence oral health and hygiene policy at a higher level.

Baseline Assessments of Oral Health

Project Activities

Stemming from the results of the baseline assessment, the priority for the Oral Health and Hygiene Project is to design preventive and curative activities, tailored to each site. Critical sources for the promotion of oral hygiene in outreach campaigns include the successful community health worker programs of each site, as well as schools and community meeting points. Please click on the [ + ] to learn more.

Specific projects that are and will be implemented include:

  • Exploration of new avenues for affordable fluoridated toothpaste acquisition: The efficacy of fluoridated toothpaste in preventing dental caries has been well established. However the high relative cost of fluoride toothpaste in developing countries is a barrier to the uptake of tooth brushing practices by the population. In addition to providing knowledge and oral hygiene advice, it is essential for the project to also ensure the feasibility and availability of the practices advocated.
  • Implementation of supervised tooth brushing with fluoridated toothpaste in schools: Supervised tooth brushing using fluoridated toothpaste has been proven to be one of the most effective methods to reduce dental caries in children. Teachers in each site will be trained on the correct tooth brushing methods, in order that each child will brush his/her teeth using fluoridated toothpaste and a toothbrush at least once per day.
  • Provision of pain relief and basic care: Trained dentists will provide safe extractions and drainage of oral abscesses and relief of discomfort, by establishing a dental unit in the villages.
  • Integrating oral health into the primary care model: Preventative efforts will be complemented by a curative component, which will be centered on integrating oral health services into the current health system and creating a working system of referral that promotes access for those who need treatment.
  • Establishment of an efficient referral system: An administrative system for referral will be embedded within the health system, trained community health workers will be able to refer cases to the health posts and trained nurses at health facilities will be trained to accurately diagnose and refer cases if needed to the regional hospital.

An Operational Framework for National Scale Up

The results of the implementation will be used to advocate at a global level for scaling up access to oral hygiene and oral care in developing countries, with a focus on prevention.

Recently the work being implemented in Koraro, Ethiopia, has aided in the appointment of the first Oral Health Focal person and the first oral health task force at Federal Ministry of Health in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The main objectives of the first oral health strategy in Ethiopia is to incorporate oral health into the primary health care system in a sustainable manner, establish an oral health agenda and to facilitate the integration between other sectors such as general public health and education, at the regional and national level.

For more Information on the Oral Health and Hygiene project at CSD, please contact Dr. Safaa Suliman.