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Oral Health Education

Approaches to achieve health
Models of health education
Stages in the adoption of new ideas & practices
Health education & propaganda
Educational aids used in health education
Methods in health education
Health promotion


Introduction to principles:-
Before we come to the practice of health education we must know
the principles involved .
-Health education brings the art and science of medicine together.
-Health education cannot be given to one person by another .It
involves among other things, the teaching , learning and
inculcation of habits concerned with the objective of healthful
-Psychologists have given a great deal of attention to the learning
-Every individual learns and through learning develops the modes
of behaviour by which he lives.
-Learning and teaching is a two-way process of transactions in
human relations. There is a internal learning by which a man
grows into an adult individual.
-It is possible to obstract certain principles of learning and use
them in health education.

These includes:-
1. Credibility
2. Interest
3. Participation
4. Motivation
5. Comprehension
6. Reinforcement
7. Learning by doing
8. Known to unknown
9. Setting an example
10. Good human relations
11. Feed back
12. Community leaders
Credibility is the degree to which the message is perceived as
trustworthy by the receiver.
It should be scientifically proven, based on facts and should
be compatible with local culture and social goals.

It is a psychological principle that people are unlikely to
listen to those things which are not to their interest.
The public is not interested in health slogans such as Take
care of your health or Be healthy.
The health educator should identify the felt needs of the
people and then prepare a program that they can actively
participate into make it successful.
Felt needs is the requirements of or care as determined by the
patient or the public.
Participation is a key word in health education. It is based on
the psychological principle of active learning.
Health education should aim at encouraging people to work
actively with health workers and others in identifying their
own health problems and also in developing solutions and
plans to work them out.
A high degree of participation tends to create a sense of
involvement, personal acceptance and decision making.
The ALMA-ATA declaration states :- The people have a right
and duty to participate individually and collectively in the
planning and implementation of their health care.

Motivation can be defined as The fundamental desire for
learning in an individual.
Motives are of two types:-
1. Primary motives.
2. Secondary motives.
Primary motives:-
Primary motives are driving forces initiating people into
action; these motives are inborn desires.
Eg:- Food, clothing & housing are examples of primary
Secondary motives:-
Secondary motives are based on desires created by out side
forces or incentives.
Eg:- Praise, love, rivalry, rewards and punishment and

In health education we must know the level of understanding,
education and literacy of people to whom the teaching is
Words that are strange or new to the people should not be
used. Usage of technical or medical terms which are not
familiar to the common man should be avoided.
A doctor asked the diabetic patient to cut down starchy foods;
the patient had no idea of starchy foods. The doctor
prescribed medicine in the familiar jargon one teaspoon full
three times a day. The patient a village women , had never
seen a teaspoon and could not follow the doctors instructions.
So in health education we should always communicate in the
language people understand. And teaching should be with in
the mental capacity of audience.
Few people can learn all that is new in a single period.
Repetition at intervals is necessary.
If there is no reinforcement , there is every possibility of the
individual going back to the pre-awareness stage. If the
message is repeated in different ways ,people are more likely
to remember it.

Learning is an action-process; not a memorizing one in the
narrow sense.
The Chinese proverb : if I hear, I forget; if I see ,I
remember; if I do, I know illustrates the importance of
learning by doing.
In health education work, we must proceed from the
concrete to the obstract from the particular to the general,
from the simple to more complicated; from the easy to
more difficult; and from know to unknown these are the
rules in teaching.
Before the start of an any health education program, the
health educator should find out how much the people already
know and give them the new knowledge.
The existing knowledge of the people can be used as a basic
step upon which new knowledge can be placed.
Eg :- A health education program with the aim of introducing
a toothbrush to a rural population will be better appreciated if
the communicator starts the program with what are you
using to clean your teeth at present ? And then going into
details like why are you using it? And connecting it to the
toothbrush and then providing details about the toothbrush.

The health educator should follow what he preaches. He
should set an example for other people to follow.
Eg:- A health educator who participates in a program highlighting
the ill effects of tobacco should not be seen smoking since it sends
a wrong signal and the seriousness of the situation is lost.
Sharing of information, ideas and feelings happen most easily
between people who have a good relationship. Building good
relationship with people goes hand in hand with developing
communication skills.
For any program to be successful it is necessary to collect a
feedback to find out if any modifications are needed to make
the program more effective.
Community leaders can be used to reach the people of the
community and to convince them about the need for health
The leaders can also be used to educate the people; as they
will have a rapport and will be familiar with the people of
their community.
The leader will have the understanding of the needs of the
community and advise and guide them.
Health education for rural people can be achieved through the
head of the village, whereas school children can be
approached through the headmaster or school teacher.

1. Essentials of preventive & community dentistry.
- 4 th edition ( SOBEN PETER)
2. Preventive & social medicine.
- 18 th edition (k. PARK)