Document Type



Doctor of Nursing Practice



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Jean Bachman DSN


Susan Farberman

Anne Fish

Gregory Casalone


Abstract This project was designed to institute an oral health preventive program in a rural health clinic, in a dental provider shortage area, promoting oral health in preschool children birth to five years by: (a) instituting a program that supports the Missouri preventive service program in oral health, (b) promoting oral screenings and fluoride varnish twice yearly, (c) assessing the risk of caries, (d) referring to appropriate dental services and (e) educating parents or guardian about the importance of oral health and how to maintain oral health at home with children birth to five years. This project sought to answer the following questions: (1) Will children birth to five years in a rural health clinic have low, moderate, or high risk for caries? (2)Are there specific risk factors in children birth to five years in a rural health clinic that are more common in the high risk category for caries? (3) Is there a specific ethnic group in children birth to five years in rural health clinics that are at a higher risk for caries? (4) Are oral health educational materials an effective tool for the parents? Key findings were: The majority of the children 35 (97.2%) had never been seen by a dentist; 27 (75%) were in the High Risk category for early childhood cavities, 3 (8.3%) were found to have white spot lesions, the first sign of decay, 8 (22%) had evidence of rampant decay (seven or more cavities), 9 (25%) had untreated decay, 10 (27.8%) had evidence of early childhood cavities; urgent referral for extensive cavities was needed by 9 (25%) of the children, 6 (67%) were African American and Hispanic. There was insufficient time to evaluate if educational materials were an effective tool. Findings from this study clearly demonstrate that an oral health preventive service program, which includes the application of fluoride varnish, be a part of the well child exam and should begin earlier than school age children.

OCLC Number


Included in

Nursing Commons