Objective: To assess the dental health knowledge of primary school teachers, their attitudes toward the prevention of dental diseases and to identify any barriers to the implementation of oral health promotion programmes in schools.
Method: Teachers’ knowledge of the causes and prevention of dental decay and gum disease, their attitudes toward oral health and barriers to the implementation of dental health education programmes were assessed using a self-administered questionnaire.
Results: School teachers were generally very well informed about the causes and prevention of dental decay and gum disease. Knowledge of the appropriate management of serious dental trauma was very poor among this group although they seemed to have greater awareness of the appropriate management for less serious dental injuries. The majority of teachers demonstrated positive attitudes toward dental health and its incorporation into the school curriculum.
Teachers’attitudes to their own involvement in school-based dental health education were also positive. Lack of training and resources and time within the curriculum were identified as major barriers to the implementation of a dental health education programme in primary schools.
Conclusion: Developing teacher training programmes that include oral health knowledge and an evidence-based approach to dental health education within a school setting could enable primary school teachers to play a significant part in oral health promotion for young children in Trinidad.