Online Program

Providing oral disease prevention services, in low-income housing communities with concurrent evaluation of University of Maryland Dental Hygiene students' communication skills

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lisa Bress, RDH, MS, Department of Periodontics, Division of Dental Hygiene, University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Baltimore, MD
Alice M. Horowitz, RDH, MA, PhD, Center for Health Literacy, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD

Diana Capobianco, RDH, DDS, Growing Smiles, Bel Air, MD
Deborah Fleming, RDH, MS, Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Former Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Dentistry, 650 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
Oral diseases continue to burden a significant portion of the American public, especially those in low-income groups. Emergency Department visits for dental pain are on the rise in the US while overall Emergency Department visits are declining.  Research has shown that poor oral health literacy (OHL) affects oral health, can negatively influence quality of life and has a signifi­cant financial impact on society. Dental caries, the most common disease of children affects caregivers as well. National initiatives to increase the OHL levels of American citizens include training health care professionals about effective communication skills and dissemi­nating oral health information to groups outside of dentistry.  Dental Hygienists, whose primary focus is prevention, can and must play a critical role in helping individuals in low- income communities increase their understanding of caries prevention strategies. Surveys indicate that dental hygienists need increased education in caries prevention and appropriate communication skills to make appropriate clinical decisions and provide self-care counseling. Intervention studies are necessary to identify communication techniques to provide caries prevention recommendations that are most helpful with vulnerable individuals such as Medicaid recipients. This presentation will describe the process to develop a community outreach program that eliminates barriers for this high-risk population to seek preventive oral health services while creating an appropriate venue to evaluate the University of Maryland’s dental hygiene curriculum with respect to caries prevention strategies. It will also report findings that identify communication techniques that can effectively transfer science–based information to low-income children and their caregivers.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe partnerships necessary to develop a community outreach program that provides oral disease prevention services in low-income housing communities. List four science–based caries disease prevention strategies. List four effective communication techniques to transfer science-based information to patients in clinical and community settings. Evaluate The University of Maryland dental hygiene students’ knowledge of caries prevention strategies

Keyword(s): Oral Health, Health Promotion and Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of 3 grants including a grant through the American Dental hygienist Association's Institute of Oral Health focusing on improving oral health for low-income children and caregivers while evaluating the University of Maryland's dental hygiene curriculum with respect to caries disease prevention strategies and effective communication techniques. I have been a dental hygiene educator for 20 years. My research interests include oral health literacy and public health.
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.

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