Effectiveness on Early Childhood Caries of an Oral Health Promotion Program for Medical Providers

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To assess an oral health promotion (OHP) intervention for medical providers’ impact on early childhood caries (ECC).


We implemented a quasiexperimental OHP intervention in 8 federally qualified health centers that trained medical providers on ECC risk assessment, oral examination and instruction, dental referral, and fluoride varnish applications (FVAs). We measured OHP delivery by FVA count at medical visits. We measured the intervention’s impact on ECC in 3 unique cohorts of children aged 3 to 4 years in 2009 (preintervention; n = 202), 2011 (midintervention; n = 420), and 2015 (≥ 4 FVAs; n = 153). We compared numbers of decayed, missing, and filled tooth surfaces using adjusted zero-inflated negative binomial models.


Across 3 unique cohorts, the FVA mean (range) count was 0.0 (0), 1.1 (0-7), and 4.5 (4-7) in 2009, 2011, and 2015, respectively. In adjusted zero-inflated negative binomial models analyses, children in the 2015 cohort had significantly fewer decayed, missing, and filled tooth surfaces than did children in previous cohorts.


An OHP intervention targeting medical providers reduced ECC when children received 4 or more FVAs at a medical visit by age 3 years.

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