Effectiveness of oral health prevention programs in school age children
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In 2000, US Surgeon General David Satcher released a report on the severity of oral health disease in the high risk demographic. His grave report ushered in an era of oral health prevention programs utilizing a combination of education, mouth rinses, fluoride varnishes, dental sealants, and more invasive procedures. Given this wide range of acceptable treatment interventions available, the aim of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of certain treatments both by themselves and in tandem with one another on target high risk school age children. The first program we analyzed was a fluoride mouth rinse program based in North Carolina. While we found that although this program may have positive impacts on school age children in the future, it did not currently provide statistically significant benefits to these children. Access to Baby and Child Dentistry, a program in Washington State that used a multi-pronged prevention program involving education, fluoride varnishes, and glass ionomer sealants provided a much clearer benefit to reducing the overall dental caries experience in target school age children. Lastly, the ForsythKids Program, based in Massachusetts which utilized a comprehensive care model of caries prevention was shown to be effective in reducing the number of new caries in school age children. Their comprehensive care model consisted of providing the children with fluoride toothpaste, applying fluoride varnish, fitting glass ionomer sealants and temporary restorations. Armed with this information and based on a model involving four steps and two factors crucial in the successful implementation of an oral health prevention program, we hope to offer a foundation for future forays into both installing and maintaining an oral health prevention program.