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Mobile-phone text messaging (SMS) for providing oral health education to mothers of preschool children in Belgaum City

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Sharma, R., Hebbal, M., Ankola, A.V., & Murugabupathy, V. (2011). Mobile-phone text messaging (SMS) for providing oral health education to mothers of preschool children in Belgaum City. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 17, 432-436.

We compared the effectiveness of two media (text messages and pamphlets) in imparting health education to mothers of preschool children. Mothers and their children were randomized into two groups. There were 72 mothers and their children in the pamphlet group and 71 in the text message group. The mothers were given health education by one of the two modes for four weeks. Knowledge, attitude and practices of the mothers were assessed by a questionnaire pre- and post-intervention. Visible plaque scores of their children were also recorded pre- and post-intervention. There were significant improvements in knowledge (P < 0.001), attitude (P < 0.001) and practices (P < 0.001) in both groups. There was also a significant reduction in visible plaque scores (P < 0.001) in both groups. Text messaging was more effective than pamphlets in improving knowledge, attitude and practices of mothers, but the comparative reduction in plaque score between groups was not significant. Text messaging appears to be an effective means of imparting oral health education.

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