141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

Oral health of infants and toddlers and associated health outcomes: Are best practices falling short?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Sharon M. Coleman, MS, MPH , Data Coordinating Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, MPH , Data Coordinating Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Diana Cutts, MD , Pediatrics, Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN
Background: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children have their first dental visit by age one. The prevalence of early childhood caries (ECC) is increasing in poor US children under age 5. Poor oral health and ECC left untreated may lead to subsequent adverse health outcomes. Objective: Examine associations between oral health status & health outcomes among children 1-4 years old. Methods: 2,489 low-income mothers of publicly insured children from 5 US urban medical centers were interviewed as part of the ongoing Children's HealthWatch study. Children were weighed and mothers responded to questions on household demographics, and the child's health, development and oral health status. Multivariable logistic regression models examined associations between children's oral-health status and underweight (weight-for-age < 5th%) and Parent's Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS). Results: 65% of children had never seen a dental provider. 8% had fair/poor oral health. After controlling for potential confounders, children with fair/poor oral-health had increased adjusted odds of underweight (AOR 2.15, 95% CI: 1.35-3.42) and significant concerns on the PEDS (AOR 1.50, 95% CI: 1.02-2.19). Conclusion: Despite AAPD and other recommendations, the majority of young children in this sample had not seen a dental provider. We found associations between young children's poor oral health and adverse health and development outcomes. Targeted strategies to provide oral health care to this demographic and education on the importance of early access to oral health care is a key public health objective.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Association of Pediatrics recommendations for infant and toddler oral health Identify potential adverse health outcomes of poor oral health in infants and toddlers Evaluate potential barriers to implementation of the best practices in infant and toddler oral health

Keywords: Oral Health, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the primary analyst/research manager for the Children's HealthWatch Study at Boston University for over five years. My experience includes: co-authored over 7 peer-reviewed journal articles with the Children's HealthWatch group and presented at APHA in 2010. My scientific interest in health outcomes for children age 0-4 has been developed over these 5 years. The impact of oral health on this age group is pivotal in the overall health of these 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.