194311 Oral health status of Maryland school children by demographics, 2005-2006

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:15 AM

Haiyan Chen, MD, PhD , Health promotion and policy, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, MD
Richard J. Manski, DDS, MBA, PhD , Health promotion and policy, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, MD
Ronald R. Chenette, DMD, MPH , Health promotion and policy, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, MD
Background:To assess current oral health status of Maryland school children, a survey was conducted on children in kindergarten and 3rd grade sampled from the State's public schools between 2005 and 2006.

Methods:Approximately 5,000 students from 50 Maryland schools were sampled using a multi-stage probability design. A questionnaire collected information on demographics (region, grade level, gender, race, eligibility for free or reduced meals at school, caregiver's education level, and dental insurance status) and an oral screening on outcomes (dental caries and sealants). Comparisons of means by different levels of each demographic were conducted using either T- or F-tests. A p-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant in all tests. All analyses used SAS and SUDAAN software.

Results:Response rate for questionnaire (46%) was higher than that for screening exam (25%). Disparities of occurrence of dental caries and sealants existed among demographics to different degrees. Children who were from Eastern Shore, in Kindergarten, boys, Non-Hispanic Others, eligible for free/reduced meals, whose caregivers' education were lower, and who had no dental insurance tended to have more dental caries and less sealants.

Discussion:This study identified where and who need improvement of oral services among Maryland school children so that personnel, public programs and funding may be properly determined and allocated. Children with serious dental problems found during screening exam will be referred to dentists. Challenges of the study included lack of official supporting letter from state education administration, delay of response from school superintendents, and mandated language of the questionnaire.

Learning Objectives:
1. List demographic factors that significantly impact oral health status of Maryland school children. 2.Demonstrate to use SAS and SUDAAN to analyze survey data with a complex design. 3. Develop a plan to reduce the disparities of oral health status among Maryland school children.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the executive PI for the project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.