Impact of a Web-Based Intervention on Maternal Caries Transmission and Prevention Knowledge, and Oral Health Attitudes
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Poor oral health knowledge is thought to significantly contribute to the incidence of early childhood caries, the most common childhood disease in the U.S. This study assessed the effectiveness of a web-based educational program in increasing oral health and caries transmission knowledge, attitudes and planned behavior among mothers and primary caregivers. Study participants were recruited from subscribers to an online health information newsletter distributed by a national dental insurance company and from visitors to a health information website sponsored by the same company. Participants completed pre- and post-intervention surveys and viewed a brief educational program. Results were analyzed for pre- to post-test changes in knowledge and attitudes. Planned behavior change was also assessed. 459 participants completed pre-and post-test surveys. The sample was typically more insured (91.3 %), and college educated (76.9 %), than the general population. At baseline, respondents were knowledgeable about caries and its prevention; however, their specific knowledge about caries transmission was limited. There was a significant increase in caries knowledge from baseline to follow-up, particularly regarding caries transmission. At baseline less than half of the participants (48.8 %) knew that mothers/primary caregivers play a large role in passing cavity causing germs to children and 43.1 % knew that there is a defined period of time when the risk of transmission of cariogenic bacteria is greatest; however in post-testing 99.6 % and 98.3 % answered these question correctly respectively (p < 0.001). Results indicate that a web-delivered oral health intervention can increase dental knowledge and increase participants’ plans to prevent maternal caries transmission. The provision of web-delivered education to primary caregivers can be an effective and low cost strategy for promoting maternal and infant oral health.
KeywordsEarly childhood caries Maternal oral health Web-based intervention
The authors thank Yesenia Rodriguez for development and programming of the Building Healthy Smiles for Your Baby website. This research was funded by grants from the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) and Aetna Dental.
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