233873 Screening for early childhood caries in early child care settings in the Mississippi Delta: Providing access to eliminate barriers

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rahel Mathews, MPH , Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Heather Hanna , Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Sara Gallman, MSW , Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Nicholas Mosca, DDS , Mississippi Department of Health, Jackson, MS
Introduction: Early childhood caries are a leading cause of morbidity for poor, minority children under the age of 5. Ensuring access to care is an imperative.

Purpose: We studied the prevalence of early childhood caries, relating factors, and provided screenings to children in child care centers in Coahoma County, Mississippi.

Methods: Dental hygienists screened children on site at 18 child care centers, including 4 Head Start centers. Dental caries experiences (untreated decay, treated decay) and treatment needs were documented. A survey was sent to parents asking for information on preventive practices, the child's history of dental issues, and barriers to accessing care.

Results: Four hundred seventeen children were evaluated for caries experiences; 94% were African-American, and 82% were 3-5 years old. Ninety-five percent of children were covered by Medicaid, SCHIP or private insurance Nearly 35% were experiencing current untreated decay and 15% had previous experiences (treated decayŚnoted by fillings or caps). Nearly 150 (142, 34%) were referred for further dental care. Parents reported not being able to take time off work as their number one barrier. Preventive practices, such as brushing teeth and frequency of dental visits and diet were also described.

Conclusions: Prevalence of child hood caries is very high in Mississippi. Screenings at child care centers may be an effective model to ensure parents are aware of their child's health status. Health promotion efforts need to educate parents of young children on oral disease prevention.

Learning Areas:

Learning Objectives:
1. To learn current prevalence of childhood caries experience of children under the age of 5 in Mississippi. 2. To learn the factors associated with the high rate of disease. 3. To understand the barriers that parents report to accessing care. 4. To learn about a model of care that can provide access to services for children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Work at Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University
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.