225710 Employing the Internet for consumer education on the oral health of infants and toddlers

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sharifa Z. Williams, MPH , College of Dental Medicine, Section of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
David A. Albert, DDS, MPH , College of Dental Medicine, Section of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
Angela Ward, MA , College of Dental Medicine, Section of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
Mary Lee Conicella, DMD , National Director of Clinical Operations, Aetna Dental, Pittsburgh, PA
This study assessed the utility of an online oral health website for the education of parents and caregivers on the prevention of dental caries in children. An online pre and post survey were used to measure the impact of the online educational program on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. The website provided information on caries as a transmissible disease and information for parents on how to prevent the transmission of cariogenic bacteria and reduce the risk of dental caries in their children. Study participants were recruited via: 1) links on an oral health information website, 2) email messages, and 3) an online newsletter distributed to participants in a national dental insurance plan. There were 553 respondents to the initial survey, and 459 completed the follow-up survey. Of those who responded 89.5% were female, 46.6% were 30-39 years of age, and 96.5% had children. The self-reported racial/ethnic composition was: 69.1% White, 12% Hispanic, 10.9% Black, 6.1% Asian or Pacific Islander, 1.5% other, and 0.6% American Indian. Dependent samples t-test of mean knowledge score showed that respondents had significantly higher scores after viewing the educational intervention, p<.001. Tests of association showed significant differences in attitudes based on gender, and dental health related behavior based on a number of variables including dental health insurance status, and parity. Educating parents and caregivers about dental caries is an important aspect of preventive oral health care. Providing tailored oral health information on the Internet can increase knowledge, and result in significant changes in related attitudes and behavior.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the impact of an online educational intervention on consumer knowledge and attitudes about caries transmission. Assess the utility of the Internet in the provision of oral health information to consumers.

Keywords: Oral Health, Health Education Strategies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I played a major role in the project design, and was responsible for the data analysis on this 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.