Online Program

Low Income Maryland Adults Understanding of Dental Caries Prevention

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Alice M. Horowitz, RDH, MA, PhD, Center for Health Literacy, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD

Wendy Child, MSc, College Park, MD
Dushanka V. Kleinman, DDS, MScD, School of Public Health, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD
Catherine Maybury, MPH, Department of Behavioral and Community Health, University of Maryland, School of Public Health, College Park, MD
Objective: To obtain in-depth information from low-income parents of young children regarding their understanding and related practices about preventing and controling dental caries (tooth decay).

Methods: We conducted four focus groups in 4 different Maryland communities. All were low income and all were English speaking. We developed a focus group guide based on results of a previously conducted state-wide phone survey of Maryland adults.

Results: Most participants had very limited understanding of how to prevent or control dental caries including very limited understanding of the role of fluorides in the prevention of dental caries. Most respondents did not recognize they could essentially prevent this nearly ubiquitious disease. Most respondents did not drink tap water and did not provide it to their children.  98% of Maryland communities that have central water supplies are optimally fluoridated.

Conclusions: There was extensive misinformation and confusion among these low-income participants about how to prevent or control dental caries. There is an obvious need for major education to increase the oral health literacy of low-income adults, especially those who are pregant or have young children.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe respondents understanding of dental caries prevention Discuss respondents use of tap water

Keyword(s): Health Literacy, Chronic Disease Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the PI on numerous studies in this content area for over 30 years.
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.