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Keywords

Children – Dental care; Dental care – Study and teaching (Elementary); Mouth – Care and hygiene – Study and teaching (Elementary); Nevada – Clark County; Nutrition and dental health – Study and teaching (Elementary)

Abstract

Over 51 million school hours are missed annually by school-aged children due to a dental problem or visit, with 117 hours missed per 100 children (NIDCR, 2002). Approximately half a million of California's 7.2 million school-age children missed at least one day of school in 2007 because of dental issues such as toothaches (Pourat, & Nicholson, 2009). Independent research regarding various educational and intervention programs have been conducted in elementary schools across the country that focus on nutrition and/or physical activity, some of which have found that the programs positively impacted students’ dietary behaviors (Edwards, Mauch, & Winkelman, 2011; Muth, Chatterjee, Williams, Cross, & Flower, 2008; Tuuri et al., 2009). However, there does not appear to be literature regarding the standardization of nutrition and oral health education curricula for elementary school children. Nevertheless, there are school districts that have well structured health education curricula that cover nutrition and oral health education (California Department of Education, 2009; Central Michigan University, 2005). All of these reports are in agreement with Dietz, et al (2008) which reported that nutrition and oral hygiene education should be an integral part of keeping growing children healthy and forming good nutrition habits that will carry into adulthood.