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A family-based approach to alleviating disparity in early childhood caries experience

Monahan, Meghan (2017) A family-based approach to alleviating disparity in early childhood caries experience. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States. Caries, also known as cavities or tooth decay, is a communicable disease initiated by bacteria and sugars on teeth in the oral environment. Early childhood caries is defined as one or more decayed, missing, or filled tooth in a child under six years. Although caries is a preventable condition, it affects millions of children. Most impacted by the disease are children of low socioeconomic status and minority children. Dental decay is a multifactorial process and is influences by many biologic and behavioral factors, including oral hygiene habits and diet. The social and behavioral components that impact a child’s caries experience are directly related to the parent’s lifestyle, habits, and understanding of oral health. Low SES or minority families may have lower levels of education, lower oral health literacy, limited understanding of dental needs, and certain behaviors that contribute to caries development in their children. This proposal seeks to decrease caries incidence in children, and, in particular, to alleviate the disparity between different populations through an education program for parents and families. The program seeks to educate mothers-to-be, parents of infants and young children, and preschool-aged children to improve their oral health literacy and help them make behavioral choices that prevent the development of caries. The program would concentrate on families of low socioeconomic status and on racial minorities to target the populations most vulnerable for caries. The public health significance of this proposal is to lessen the burden of disease from a prevalent childhood condition and also to reduce the disparity in disease experience between population groups.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Monahan, Meghanmlm203@pitt.eduMLM203
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFinegold, David N.dnf@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberRubin, Richard W.rrubin@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 24 April 2017
Date Type: Submission
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Multidisciplinary MPH
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2017 18:19
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2020 02:04


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