Online Program

Perceived social support and oral health outcomes among low-income mothers of young children

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Hiroko Iida, DDS, MPH, „X New York State Oral Health Technical Assistance Center@Regional Primary Care Network, Rochester, NY
R. Gary Rozier, DDS, MPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Heatlh, Chapel Hill, NC
Leslie Zeldin, MPH, Health Policy and Management, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Objectives: Studies suggest that some components of social support such as financial help and presence of close family and friends might influence dental visits among US adults. The purpose of this study is to determine the type and quantity of perceived social support among low-income mothers of children in North Carolina (NC) and their associations with oral health outcomes. Methods: We interviewed caregivers of children from 26 Early Head Start (EHS) programs in NC and of Medicaid-enrolled, non-EHS children matched on age and ethnicity residing in the same geographic clusters as EHS subjects. A 4-item, validated social support index (SSI) measured the availability of instrumental, informational, companionship, and emotional support using a five-point likert scale. A higher SSI score indicates more support. Dependent variables were caregiver's self-reported oral health status, use of dental services, and difficulty in obtaining dental care. Descriptive and multivariable analyses were performed using data for 1489 mothers of children younger than 19 months of age. Results: Mothers perceived greater emotional support than instrumental support (SSI 4.4 vs. 3.4). As overall SSI increases by one point, the odds of poorer oral health outcomes decreased an average of 8% after controlling for potential confounders (p<0.001). Among the different types of support, companionship was associated with a 34% reduction of difficulties in obtaining dental care (p<0.001). Conclusions: Social support appears to be an independent determinant of oral health. Further study should elucidate the types of social support that facilitate low-income mothers' use of dental care and mechanisms of action.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Assess how different types and levels of social support are associated with oral health and use of dental care among low-income mothers’ of young children.

Keyword(s): Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a principal investigator of multiple research projects focusing on maternal and child oral health. Among my scientific interests has been identifying the types and sources of social supports that promote oral health among low-income mothers and children.
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.