17/05/2021 Medicine
DOI: 10.1186/s12903-021-01608-x SemanticScholar ID: 234754400

“Strong Teeth”: an early-phase study to assess the feasibility of an oral health intervention delivered by dental teams to parents of young children

Publication Summary

Tooth decay (caries) is a significant health burden in young children. There is strong evidence for the benefits of establishing appropriate home-based oral health behaviours in early childhood. Dental teams are well placed to provide this information and there is clear advice on what oral health information should be given to parents. However, research has shown that there is limited guidance, training and resources on how dental teams should deliver this advice. is a complex oral health intervention, using evidence-based resources and training underpinned by behaviour change psychology, to support behaviour change conversations in dental practice. This early phase evaluation aims to assess the feasibility of this intervention, prior to a full-scale trial. The study recruited 15 parents of children aged 0–2-years-old and 21 parents of children aged 3–5 years old, from five NHS dental practices across West Yorkshire. Participant demographics, self-reported brushing behaviours, dietary habits, a dental examination and three objective measures of toothbrushing were collected in a home-setting at baseline, then at 2-weeks and 2-months post-intervention. Recruitment, retention and intervention delivery were analysed as key process outcomes. Brushing habits were compared to national toothbrushing guidelines – the Delivering Better Oral Health toolkit (Public Health England). Strong Teeth was feasible to deliver in a General Dental Practice setting in 94% of cases. Feasibility of recruitment (37%) exceeded progression criterion, however retention of participants (75%) was below the progression criterion for the 0–2 age group. More than half of children recruited aged 3–5-years had caries experience (52%). Total compliance to toothbrushing guidance at baseline was low (28%) and increased after the intervention (52%), an improvement that was statistically significant. Dietary habits remained largely unchanged. Plaque scores significantly decreased in the 3–5-year-olds and toothbrushing duration increased in all age groups. intervention delivery and data collection in the home setting was feasible. There was a positive indication of impact on reported toothbrushing behaviours. Some amendments to study design, particularly relating to the inclusion of the 0–2-year-old group, should be considered before progression to a full trial. Trial registration ISRCTN Register: ISRCTN10709150. Registered retrospectively 24/7/2019.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Kara Gray-Burrows

Dr. Kara Gray-Burrows

University of Leeds - Lecturer in Psychological Approaches to Health

Avatar Image for Peter Day

Dr. Peter Day

University of Leeds - Professor and Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry

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