Ricardo Cartes-Velásquez & Alex Bustos Leal


In 1990 the rural community of “El Carmen” presented high levels of poverty and dental damage. This led local and regional authorities to join forces with the Dental Faculty of Universidad de Concepción to implement an oral health program based on the concept of early prevention. This program was designed to fit the local reality, promoting participation of the community and strengthening their health. For 13 years the program has undergone several modifications, which have mainly increased and improved coverage, infrastructure, and operational performance. The initial coverage and impact was near 10% and in recent years, has reached 100% of the community. DMFT index has dropped gradually and significantly; in 1994 it was 7.38 and in 2007 it was 2.3. The latter value is very close to national goal set for 2010. Clearly, this program has proven to be succesfull in the mid- and long-term. This is due to the commitment shown by all the professionals involved in the program as well as its flexible nature and constant improvement, which has allowed it to adapt to local reality.

KEY WORDS: oral health, public health, rural, caries, Chile.

How to cite this article

CARTES-VELÁSQUEZ, R. & BUSTOS, L. A. Oral health program for El Carmen school children 1994 – 2007, Chile. Int. J. Odontostomat., 5(3):287-292, 2011.