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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Waiting room time : an opportunity for caregiver oral health education Soussou, Randa


The UBC Children’s Dental Program (CDP) has provided free basic dental treatment for high caries risk children, from marginalized populations, since the mid-1970s. Children are referred to the program by Health Authority Staff in metro Vancouver. Treatment is provided by senior dental students under the supervision of UBC Pediatric Dentistry instructors. However, the students have limited time to provide health education to the accompanying caregivers. Therefore, this project developed a ʺwaiting-room basedʺ dental health education program (DHEP) to engage the caregivers of participating children. Our main objectives were to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the DHEP and its short term effectiveness in changing parental dental health related behaviours. A situational analysis using structured interviews was performed with the caregivers and other stakeholders of the CDP: Health Authority Staff, UBC Pediatric Dentistry instructors and participating dental students. After the assessment of caregivers’ dental knowledge, dental behaviours, attitudes as well as preferences about a dental educational program, the DHEP was developed and implemented in the waiting rooms at UBC’s two children’s dental clinics. Follow-up phone calls with the caregivers assessed their short term self-reports of changes in dental health related behaviours. Comparisons before and after being exposed to our DHEP were made using Chi-square tests; significance was set at P<0.05. Of the 80 caregivers who received the DHEP, the follow-up rate was 81% (67/80). Significant increases in proportions (from 12% to 79%) of caregivers brushing their children’s teeth and brushing before bed (54% to 85%) were self-reported. An improvement in caregiver-reported child’s snacking habits was also observed. Decreases (from 93% to 69%) in giving children sugar- iii containing beverages and in consuming sugar-containing foods as snacks (from 94% to 31%) were also noted. A caregiver-centred DHEP implemented in the waiting rooms of UBC’s dental clinics proved to be a feasible strategy for oral health education. The program was well-accepted by the caregivers, who reported significant short-term improvements in their children’s dental health behaviours. Therefore, appropriate oral health education provided to caregivers in the waiting room is a recommendation for the CDP.

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