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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Top tips for teeth



The Top tips for teeth program was developed by the LaTrobe Community Health Service for Koori children attending the Woolem Bellum KODE School and Woolem Bellum preschool in the Latrobe Valley region of Victoria. The goal of this program was to improve oral health knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. This program included an after-lunch brushing program and four culturally-appropriate education sessions. Top tips for teeth developed culturally-sensitive resources, including magnets, newsletters and information sheets.

Process evaluation revealed that younger students responded more positively to the program. Plaque scores revealed that by term three there was a significant improvement in the students' brushing techniques. Students were more aware of the importance of looking after their teeth and gums and individual brushing techniques and coordination improved. Knowledge, awareness and acceptance of dentistry had also improved. As a result of this initial success, oral health was included as part of the Woolem Bellum KODE school curriculum.

However, a longer-term evaluation showed that toothbrushing programs are difficult to sustain when the resident toothbrushing 'champion' leaves a program. The toothbrushing aspect of Top tips for teeth ceased when the teacher who was the strongest advocate left the school.

Lessons learned

LaTrobe Community Health Service
Freecall: 1800 242 696

Related publications

Health Development Section and Dental Health Unit (2002)

Victorian oral health promotion strategy grants program final report.

Melbourne: Victorian Department of Human Services


Last updated: 13 April 2016
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