Title: Dental Home Determinants in a Community-based Cohort of Preschool-age Children
Beau Meyer (Presenter)
University of North Carolina School of Dentistry
Jeannie Ginnis, University of North Carolina School of Dentistry
Mikafui Antonio-Obese, University of North Carolina
Andrea Ferreira Zandona, University of North Carolina
Kimon Divaris, University of North Carolina School of Dentistry
Objectives: Establishment of a dental home for young children is an important component of oral health promotion and disease prevention. Despite advocacy efforts, many young children do not have dental homes, an issue with clinical and public health consequences. Our objectives were to: a) determine the prevalence and socio-demographic determinants of having a self-reported dental home and b) identify oral health-related behaviors that are associated with having a dental home, in the context of a community-based genetic epidemiologic study of early childhood oral health.
Methods: We used questionnaire data from 1,814 preschool-age (mean age=51 months; range=36-71 months; Hispanic/Latinos=22%) enrolled in Head Start centers in North Carolina and participating in the ZOE 2.0 study. Having a dental home (i.e., having visited a dentist and have done so for a check-up vs. for a problem) was the main study outcome. Covariates included socio-demographic characteristics of children and legal guardians, residential locations, and oral health-related behaviors. Analyses relied upon descriptive, bivariate and multivariable logistic regression modeling. Inference was based upon marginal effects [expressed in percentage points, (p.p.)] estimation and 95% confidence intervals (CI).
Results: Eighty-one percent of participating children reported having dental homes. Children with dental homes were approximately 3 months older than those without, and those living in rural areas were 10p.p. (95% CI=6%-14%) less likely to report having one. Multivariable analyses showed significant positive associations between dental home reports and beneficial oral health-related behaviors (i.e., use of fluoridated toothpaste, frequency of and adult involvement in tooth brushing), as well as significant negative associations with nighttime bottle feeding and reported dental pain.
Conclusions: Reports of having a dental home were associated with beneficial oral health-related behaviors among this group of young, preschool-age children. Efforts to promote the establishment and maintenance/quality of dental homes among young children from low-income families are well-invested.