Pediatric oral health disparities are one of the leading global chronic problems that affect children of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Poor oral health leads to the development of dental caries, which can cascade into an innumerable number of comorbidities, including pain, infection, malnutrition, and decreased self-esteem. Oral health education from the medical and dental home in conjunction with regular cleanings and biannual fluoride varnish has been shown to decrease the risk of caries by at least one third.
Implications for Health Care Providers
Oral health, dental caries, and the resulting comorbid conditions affect the overall health of the child who follows up with their primary care provider. Pediatric health care providers can play a major role in the prevention of these dental caries through the promotion of oral health education and fluoride varnish application during well-child visits
In comparison to pre-data, providers felt more confident and comfortable discussing oral health hygiene and offering fluoride varnish after the educational intervention. There was no significant change in the fluoride varnish applications pre and post in the chart audit; however, there was inconsistent data between the chart audit and the fluoride varnish questionnaire data filled out by providers during the well visit. Lastly, a significant number of parents declined the application of fluoride varnish implying that further intervention should be focused on parent education.