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Change for the Better: Introducing Mandatory Brushing in Public Schools in Mexico City


Dr. John O’Keefe spoke with Dr. Jaime Edelson, FDI Council Member and general dentist in Mexico City, who made a change for the better in public dentistry for school children: introducing mandatory brushing in public schools in Mexico City. 


As a continuation of his work with FDI, Dr. Edelson was instrumental in introducing a public health measure to improve the health of kindergarten and primary school children. Public schools in Mexico City have adopted a new mandatory tooth brushing program which will be supervised by teachers in the hopes of reducing the prevalence of dental decay.

In Mexico City, 98% of the children go to school; however, not all of them have access to a dentist regularly. This program has been implemented as a result of a successful smaller pilot program that was introduced 4 years ago.

The movement now includes 140,000 children and is generously supported by Colgate Mexico. To guarantee the sustainability of the program, a law was passed in Mexico City mandating that, during the school year, every child will receive 2 oral hygiene kits, one for home and one for school. This program has been successful in bringing oral health education back to schools where it used to be many years ago. The hope is that this program will be extended to private schools and the rest of the country as well.


Dr. Jaime Edelson was born in Mexico city may 19, 1955. Finished Dental School at the Universidad Tecnológica de México in February 1978 and did a 2 years Postgrad Residency Program in Family Dentistry at the University of Connecticut, Health Center in Farmington CT from 1978 to 1980. He joined the Mexican Dental Association (ADM) in 1982 and has participated as a national and international lecturer and served in many ADM’s Executive Committees, including past President 2009/2011.  During his presidency he created the ADM Foundation (Fundación ADM, IAP) in charge of the social programs of the ADM. He was cochair of the WADC of the FDI in September 2011 in Mexico city where he was elected councillor to the FDI for a 3 years term and reelected in India for a 2nd term to finish in the summer of 2017. He is a member of the FDI’s Task Team for Vision 20/20 and World Oral Health day 2017. On November 16, 2016 he promoted and was successful to pass a law on mandatory brushing in Public Kindergarten and Primary Public Schools in Mexico City’s house of representatives. He is a member of the ADM, FDI, ICD Chapter Mexico, PFA and ADI among other distinguished organizations. He received in 2005 the ADM’s highest honor: “Cum Laude for Continuing Education award”. Dr. Edelson practices Family Dentistry with emphasis in Implant Dentistry and Oral Rehabilitation in Mexico City since 1980.

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