Evaluating a community-based dental registration program for preschool children living in areas of high social deprivation
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Aim: This was to evaluate the effectiveness of a community-based program to promote dental registration and access to dental services for preschool children residing in areas of high social deprivation using monthly registration data provided by the Central Services Agency (CSA). Design: A quasi-experimental non-equivalent two group comparison. Setting: Areas of high social deprivation in the greater Belfast area. Methods: The dental registration program was conducted by community-based nurses (health visitors). The health visitors provided oral health education and distributed registration vouchers to mothers of new babies during home visits. The mothers exchanged the vouchers for motivational materials from the participating dental practices. Preschool child registration data were obtained from the CSA to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Results: The registration rates were significantly greater 5 months after the program for 0–2-year old children residing in the intervention wards compared with control wards. During the program the rate of change in registration for the 0–2-year-old group residing in the intervention wards was significantly greater compared with those residing in the control wards (t [DF: 21]=4.26: p<0.001). There was a significant increase in registration rate 5 months after the program compared with 6 months before the study started for the 0–2 year old group residing in the intervention wards compared with those residing in the control wards (t[df:21]=3.33:P=0.003). There were no equivalent effects for the 3–5-year old group. Conclusion: The adoption of a community-based approach assisted in promoting dental registration and access to dental services for preschool children residing in areas of high social deprivation.
Key wordsdental attendance preschool children social deprivation
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