Health Promotion and Early Childhood Caries (ECC)

Data about prevalence of ECC among children younger than 4 years are not routinely collected in the child’s dental surveys. However Wyne (CAFHS, Professional Digest, Nov. 1990) found the prevalence of the ECC was 16.7% (noncavitated lesions) among 2-3 year olds in SA. Reports on hospitalisation for treatment of oral disease also indicate that this problem has been ongoing.

Objective: The purpose of the study was to test the effectiveness of an oral health promotion program (OHPP) for the parents of infants, starting with pregnant women, using a randomised controlled trial. The OHPP used anticipatory guidance to focus on the needs of each child during the first 18 months of life.

Methods: Mothers in the test group received oral health promotion information (OHPI) material during pregnancy, and later when the child reached 6 and 12 months of age. After the children reached 6 months of age OHPI test group mothers were randomised again. The OHPI was reinforced in one of the test subgroups through phone interview. There has been no contact with mothers in the control group from the time of the enrolment. At the age of 18 months all babies will be examined by a dentist. Data from two questionnaires (1st at the time of enrolment, 2nd at 18 months of age), medical history and dental examination will be analysed. Outcomes between the test and control group, and the test subgroups will be compared.

Results: Some 649 women have been enrolled into the program (test group 327, control group 322). Conclusion: At this stage of the study the analysis is concentrated on examining the baseline characteristics of mothers and their oral health and comparability of the test and control groups. Sponsored by Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation of South Australia INC.

K Plutzer*, AJ Spencer

Presented at the Colgate Australian Clinical Dental Research Centre Research Day, 22 August 2003, Adelaide, Australia

Note: * indicates presenter

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