In-school toothbrushing programs in Aboriginal communities in New South Wales, Australia: A thematic analysis of teachers’ perspectives

Yvonne Dimitropoulos Alexander Holden Woosung Sohn

In-school toothbrushing programs in Aboriginal communities in New South Wales, Australia: A thematic analysis of teachers’ perspectives

Authors: Yvonne Dimitropoulos Alexander Holden Woosung Sohn
doi: 10.1922/CDH_4443Dimitropoulos05

Abstract

Objective: This qualitative analysis explores how school staff interacted with a daily in-school toothbrushing program in three schools in rural areas in Central Northern New South Wales, Australia, with a high population of enrolled Aboriginal students. Research design: Three focus groups were conducted in the schools. Participants included school teachers and one Aboriginal Oral Health Aide who manage the daily program. Focus groups were conducted, and where permitted, audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the transcripts. This study was granted ethics approval by the New South Wales Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (App 1281/17). Results: Four themes were identified: 1) Belief of Program Need and Benefit; 2) Forming routine; 3) Children’s responses and 4) Sustainability. School staff embraced the program and valued the need for and benefit of the program for children in their school, seeing it as part of the extended role of the school to promote students’ health and well-being. Two important enablers for the program’s sustainability emerged; promoting and supporting local school leadership and training existing school staff or local Aboriginal people to manage it. Conclusion: Training local Aboriginal people or existing school staff to implement a daily in-school toothbrushing program and facilitating school leadership is an important enabler for sustainable oral health promotion, including in-school toothbrushing programs, in Aboriginal communities. Key words: Toothbrushing; schools; communities

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