Background: Dental caries are the most common chronic disease affecting children and adolescents in the U.S. Rates of dental caries are rising in the 2-4 yr. age group, specifically in children from poor families and those of non-Hispanic black and Mexican American ethnicity. However, little is known about oral health practices of infants. Purpose: To evaluate the impact of an educational intervention in the Rainbow Ambulatory Practice on caregiver knowledge, attitude, and adherence to recommended oral hygiene behaviors. Methods: The study was reviewed and approved by the UH IRB committee. A survey study was conducted of patients’ caregivers who presented to the Rainbow Ambulatory Practice. The study included caregivers of patients between the ages of 6mo.-12mo. who were brought to the clinic for either a well child care or sick visit. Caregivers who consented to participate in the study were given a written questionnaire to determine baseline knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. After filling out the survey, each participant received an educational intervention which consisted of receipt and review of an American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry brochure about infant oral health. Caregivers also received an infant toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste. Caregivers were then contacted via telephone three months following the intervention and were asked 10 follow-up questions regarding their oral health knowledge, attitudes, and oral hygiene behaviors for their infants following the intervention. Results: Forty-eight infant caregivers were included in the study. Twenty seven survey respondents participated in the follow-up survey, making it a 56% follow-up rate. Analysis of the paired data using the McNemar Test shows that following the educational intervention, there was a statistically significant increase in the number of caregivers who learned that tooth brushing should begin at the time of first tooth eruption (p-value < 0.01) and in caregivers who learned that fluoridated toothpaste should be used when brushing their infant’s teeth (p-value < 0.01). Following the educational intervention, caregivers were brushing their infants’ teeth more frequently (p-value < 0.05) and were using toothpaste with fluoride in it (p-value < 0.05). Conclusion: This study demonstrates the significant impact of educating caregivers about oral health early during a child’s infancy. Proper education from pediatricians can help caregivers develop good oral habits for their children early and work towards decreasing the rate of dental caries in toddlers.
The Impact of an Educational Intervention on Infant Caregivers’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior Regarding Oral Health
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Lolita McDavid, Sharmila K. Oak, Nori Minich, Marie Clark; The Impact of an Educational Intervention on Infant Caregivers’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior Regarding Oral Health. Pediatrics July 2020; 146 (1_MeetingAbstract): 397–398. 10.1542/peds.146.1MA5.397
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