Epidemiology of Early Childhood Caries: Clinical Application

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Early childhood caries (ECC) is the most communicable and preventable disease process in children younger than 5 years. Instead of moving in the direction epidemiologists would like to see, incidence rates of ECC are moving upward from the targeted 11%, as outlined by Healthy People 2010. The nursing profession can address risk factors, treatment options, and the need to increase awareness of the transmission of ECC along with prevention efforts. Efforts made by nursing students in a service–learning project to increase awareness of ECC are outlined. In addition, intervention strategies disseminated by advanced nurse practitioners and nurse educators to augment these efforts are summarized.

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