Rural schoolteachers' knowledge about oral health and perceived roles in oral health education

Naty Lopez, Karin Quick, Joanna Sager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To explore schoolteachers' knowledge about oral health, their perception of their role as oral health educators, and their preparedness to teach oral health in rural public schools. Methods: We conducted a survey of 119 schoolteachers in four public elementary and middle schools in rural Minnesota during spring semester of 2019. We used descriptive statistics to analyze the data. Results: Sixty percent of 119 teachers participated. Schoolteachers have knowledge about basic oral health hygiene but have limited awareness about fluoride and periodontal disease. Correct agreements to the fluoride statements ranged from 23 percent to 87 percent and 23 percent to 70 percent agreed correctly to statements about periodontal disease. They prefer passive roles in oral health education. There was a high rate of agreement (51-83 percent) to integrate oral health topics with subjects taught in classrooms. Conclusions: Schoolteachers see themselves as integrating oral health topics in the subjects they currently teach but will need further training to augment their limited knowledge of oral health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-155
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health Dentistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Association of Public Health Dentistry.


  • oral health
  • rural population
  • schoolchildren
  • schools
  • teachers


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