Their Child’s Oral Health Problem

As a dental hygienist student, it is my responsibility to know just how important oral health is. Not only in adults, but more importantly, in children. Little did I know was how uneducated parents may be on how vital their child’s oral health really is. One of the main complications I see as a student are ECCs or early childhood caries. This seems to be an ongoing problem, mainly in low-income families, in the United States. “Perceptions of Dental Hygienists and Dentists about Preventing Early Childhood Caries: A Qualitative Study,” is the research article I have selected to support this problem.

The purpose of this study was to increase an understanding of the hygienists and dentist’s viewpoints in children’s oral health and what needed to be done to prevent early childhood caries. Horowit’s study found the following:

In 2012, Maryland spent $1,396.652 on dental-procedure related general anesthesia for its Medicaid population, with nearly 60% ($830,603) of that on children under the 6 years of age.


This was a qualitative study which means it primarily consists of exploratory research to conduct an understanding of the underlying reasons, motivations, and opinions. The author provided a clear concise manner of data showing tables from the reviews and interviews that too place to therefore it gives evidence of reliability. The charts from this study could be used as an easy way to look at statistics and could be used clinically as a reminder to hygienists. This mainly focuses on ECC and how we as non-health care people can help to prevent this problem.

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Throughout this study there is one key term used and it is early childhood caries which is defiend as the presence of one or more decayed, missing, or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth in a pre-school aged child between birth and 71 months of age. The assumptions of this study that were made were to focus on issues to prevent early childhood caries, educate parents and include none dental health care providers. The assumptions were then corrected by three different theories.

The study took four focus groups with one on one interviews asking each individual open-ended questions. The focus groups had a total of 20 dental hygienists and 17 dentists participating. These groups were a variety pulled from a variation of locations throughout the state of Maryland and all were conducted by the Principal Investigator. It took several steps to analyze the data being brought in and thus resulted in very informative information to help solve the on-going problem of ECC. As a result, they found three key problems and they were as follows; the challenges to preventing ECC among low-income families; necessary educational methods and practices; and the need for inter-professional collaboration. The problem had some weaknesses due to the articles that were within this study were too large or complex. Although it is extremely valid information the study should have been focused on one main problem. One big thing emphasized in the study was parents did not understand or practice when caring for their child’s oral health which included how fluorides could be effective, limiting one’s intake on sweets, suitable oral hygiene, and knowing that this really can be prevented. According to Horowitz (2017), “Results from state and national surveys indicated that adults have a low-level of understanding about how to prevent tooth decay.”(p.34) These results also serve as a reminder that not only is it our responsibility as dental health professionals to stay informed of the on-going guidelines for oral care for pediatric patients, but also, we need to be aware of the disease process and show how this can be prevented.

This study consists of twenty-three previous works dating from 1998-2017 and was funded by the DentaQuest Foundation in Boston, MA. It was put together by Alice M. Horowitz, RDH, PhD; Dushanka V. Kleinman, DDS, MScD; Wendy Child, MS; Sarah D. Radice, BS; and Catherine Maybury, MPH; all part of the University of Maryland and College Park. Horowitz is a Research Associate Professor and health educator at UMD that has done extensive work in dental caries prevention and early detections. She has received many awards and honors such as the American Dental Association Honorary Member in October 2014 to the Certificate of Achievement Recognition Delta Omega, UMD of April 2014. She has received her credentials of RDH, BA, and MA from the University of Iowa, and her PhD from UMD. Kleinmas is the Associate Dean for Research and a Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatics at UMD. She is a senior leader and the UMD College Park and other campuses to contribute to identifying and supporting proposals for emerging research training opportunities. She received her BS in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her MScD in Dental Public Health and Certificate from Boston University. She holds many honors and award from the Gies Award, American College of Dentists to the American Association of Dental Research Jack Hein Public Service Award. Child, MS is an independent qualitative research consultant in College Park MD. Radice RN, BS is the former project coordinator. Maybury, MPH is a facility research assistant and at the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy, UMD School of Public Health and works hand in hand with Dr. Horowitz. She has received a MPH in Behavioral and Community Health from UMD.

In my opinion as a practicing dental hygienist, I would be willing to except the conclusions of the author based on the research the study showed because the main author is very well known as she is part of many other studies taking part in this one. ECC is a well-known issue in America and around the world and finding conclusions to overcome the problem is something dental hygienists and dentists need to help overcome.

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Their Child’s Oral Health Problem. (2022, Feb 05). Retrieved from

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