Saudi Arabia - Oral Health Education Programme for schoolchildren in the Holy City of Mecca


In 2003 an oral health education programme for schoolchildren in the Holy City of Mecca was initiated as a joint venture between the Specialist Dental Centre of Alnoor Specialist Hospital and the Directorate of Education in Mecca city. The programme was aimed at schoolchildren attending the third and fourth primary classes (8-10 year olds).

Map from the World factbook

Background and Rationale

Many dental surveys showed high caries experience among schoolchildren in Saudi Arabia and recent studies among the 12 year olds have shown a rising trend. Nearly 95% of the 12-14-year-old children examined in Riyadh in 2002 were affected by caries.

The only existing activity carried out regarding dental education of schoolchildren in Mecca city was during a limited period, for instance during "dental care week", which was conducted by the Ministry of Health, for the whole country. Until 2003, there was no real and comprehensive national dental public health programme conducted in the country.

Alnoor Specialist Hospital, Mecca

Project Outline and Achievements
School boys from about 20 primary schools in the Mecca city area participated in this programme, in 2003-04. The idea was to bring a group of school boys and a teacher, once a week to the Dental Centre to receive a comprehensive oral health education package.

  • Usually 15 -20 schoolchildren from the 3rd and 4th primary classes together with their teacher visited the Centre.
  • A clinic in the Specialist Dental Centre with a dentist and a dental hygienist carried out the programme.
  • The visit starts with a tour around the Centre for the children and their teacher so as to introduce to the group to the different dental specialities.
  • Then the dentist presents the oral health education programme in the form of clinical demonstration, discussions and tooth brushing instructions.
  • The children and the teacher are given oral health information sheets and in addition also receive a gift package consisting of tooth brush, paste and a cup.
  • At the end of the session which lasts about 3hours, the children and their teacher are awarded certificates signed by the Director of the Dental Centre.
  • A total of about 350 school children participated in this programme during 2003-04.


This programme is a model for how the Directorates of Health and Education could successfully collaborate in carrying out effective oral health education programmes that are urgently needed.



We wish to thank Dr Mohammed Al-Harthy, Former Director of Specialist Dental Centre of Alnoor Specialist Hospital, Mecca and currently Postgraduate Dental Surgeon, Faculty of Odontoloy, Malmo University (2007), for this presentation and illustrations.