259499 Promoting Oral Health: Reaching Out to Parents

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sohini Dhar, BDS, MPH , Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas - School of Public Health, Houston, TX
Teresita E. Ladrillo, DMD, MPH , Houston Department of Health and Human Service, Houston, TX
Sally W. Vernon, PhD , Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health, Houston, TX
Johanna K. DeYoung, BSN, DDS, MPH , Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Houston, TX
Project Saving Smiles (PSS) developed by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services is a collaborative and community-based public health endeavor that utilizes primary preventative methods to decrease the rate of dental caries, and school absences due to dental problems among at-risk 2nd graders. Since November 2008, PSS has screened 10,792 children, and sealed 33,288 teeth. To improve the participation rate and to decrease the number of caries in the target population, parent involvement in the program was identified as a critical component. To engage parents in maintaining the oral health of their children and to motivate them to consent for their child to participate in PSS, several strategies were used. “Listening Sessions” were conducted in collaboration with Texas Oral Health Coalition – Houston Region, where parents expressed their views regarding their children's oral health. A survey was developed and administered to parents of PSS participants. Other strategies included sending newsletters home to reinforce the oral health message and advertising the program to reach parents. To date, out of 821 participants from seven schools, 122, or 15%, survey responses were received. The survey results showed parental interest in oral health. Other concerns follow: halitosis, fear of losing teeth due to decay, and fear of pain from caries. Parents are critical partners in improving oral health since they greatly influence their children's eating habits, oral health practices, and their access to preventive care. The results from the analyzed data will show the degree of effectiveness of the identified strategies.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify effective strategies in order to engage parents in their child (ren)'s oral health. 2. Discuss ways to encourage parents to involve their child(ren)in community-based primary preventive oral health interventions.

Keywords: One Health, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a dentist by training and have completed masters in public health. I am particularly interested in oral health promotion and education.
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.