Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of conventional and game-based oral health education on the oral health-related knowledge and oral hygiene status among 5- to 10-year-old schoolchildren.
Materials and Methods: A total of 120 children aged 5 to 10 years were divided into 2 groups. Each group had 30 children aged 5 to 7 years and 30 children aged 8 to 10 years. A pretest evaluation of their knowledge regarding oral health and the estimation of Debris Index-Simplified (DI-S) was carried out. Children in group A were given oral health education through flash cards once daily for 7 days. Children in group B were educated through the play method (i.e. snakes and ladders game combined with flash cards). The evaluations regarding oral hygiene and DI-S were recorded on post-intervention day 1 and 3 months after the intervention.
Results: In group B, high knowledge scores of 14.6 and 14.47 were obtained by the 5- to 7-year-olds and 8- to 10-yearolds, respectively, on post-intervention day 1. The lowest mean percentage difference of 8.9 was seen in 5- to 7-yearold children of group A after 3 months. In group B (5-7 and 8-10) and group A (8-10) there was a significant increase in good oral hygiene scores and a significant decrease in fair and poor debris scores on post-intervention day 1 and at the 3-month follow-up.
Conclusion: The knowledge scores of both the younger and older groups of children increased considerably when the game-based teaching intervention was used. Hence, it can be an effective aid for teaching basic oral health concepts to children.
Keywords: game-based teaching, intervention, oral health