Exploring oral health and hygiene practices in the Algonquin community of Rapid Lake, Quebec


Author(s) : Naidu A, Macdonald M, Carnevale FA, Nottaway W, Thivierge C, Vignola S.


Introduction:  Early childhood caries (ECC), a disease characterized by tooth decay in the primary teeth of children, has become particularly burdensome in Aboriginal communities in Canada. Prevalence estimates of ECC range between 50% and 100%. Most concerning are the severe cases of ECC that require treatment with restorative surgery under general anesthesia. These surgeries often displace children and families from their local communities to specialty hospitals for treatment; further, they are very costly to dental insurance payers such as the government. This study used community-based participatory research (CBPR) to explore oral health and hygiene practices in the Algonquin community of Rapid Lake, Quebec. A key goal of the study was to create a culturally adapted activity to promote children’s oral health and hygiene practices. Methods:  Focused ethnography was used to explore oral health beliefs and practices, and factors related to child oral health promotion with community members. Participants included children, parents, educators, healthcare workers, youth workers and elders. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants. Following, two focus group interviews were conducted: one with parents and one with school children. All data were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed iteratively using thematic analysis. Preliminary findings were then used to develop oral health promoting activities for children in the community. These activities were designed in collaboration with community workers.  Results:  Three main themes emerged from the analysis: (1) a gap existed between oral health knowledge and oral health behaviors; (2) challenges for oral health promotion included attitudes and beliefs, access, and priorities; and (3) parents needed to be further integrated into health promotion strategies. Key outcomes included: (1) the development of Eagles & Otters, a game designed to increase children’s oral health knowledge; (2) an activity sheet to promote child oral health behaviors in the home; and (3) increased capacity in oral health promotion in local youth, community research partners and the student researcher. Conclusions:  The findings of this study highlight the importance of both local and broader systemic interventions to promote children’s oral health. At the local level, child oral health and hygiene was promoted through the development of activities designed to increase children’s oral health knowledge and behaviors both at school and in the home where parents were directly implicated. Systemic level interventions are needed to address factors related to the social determinants of health, including cultural traditions, economic security, food security, and housing status. These factors contribute to overall health and enable the necessary conditions to promote and sustain oral health.

Key words: aboriginal health, community, early childhood caries, oral health, oral hygiene, participatory research.

Risk factors for dental caries in small rural and regional Australian communities

Risk factors for dental caries in small rural and regional Australian communities

Author(s) : Zander A, Sivaneswaran S, Skinner J, Byun R, Jalaludin B

ABSTRACTIntroduction:  Dental decay (caries) can cause pain, infection and tooth loss, negatively affecting eating, speaking and general health. People living in rural and regional Australian communities have more caries, more severe caries and more untreated caries than those in the city. The unique environmental conditions and population groups in these communities may contribute to the higher caries burden. In particular, some towns lack community water fluoridation, and some have a high proportion of Aboriginal people, who have significantly worse oral health than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Because of these and other unique circumstances, mainstream research on caries risk factors may not apply in these settings. This study aimed to gather contemporary oral health data from small rural or regional Australian communities, and investigate caries risk factors in these communities. Methods:  A cross-sectional survey consisting of a standardized dental examination and questionnaire was used to measure the oral health of 434 children (32% Aboriginal) aged 3-12 years in three small rural or regional areas. Oral health was determined as the deciduous and permanent decayed, missing and filled teeth (dmft/DMFT), and the proportion of children without caries. Risk factors were investigated by logistic regression. Results:  The dmft/DMFT for children in this study was 1.5 for 5-6 year olds and 1.0 for 11-12 year olds (index groups reported). Independent predictors of having caries (Yes/No) were age group, holding a concession card (OR=2.45, 95%CI=1.58-3.80) and tooth-brushing less than twice per day (OR=2.11, 95% CI=1.34-3.34). Aboriginal status also became a significant variable under sensitivity analyses (OR 1.9, CI 1.12-3.24) when the tooth-brushing variable was removed. Gender, water fluoridation and parental education were not significant predictors of caries in these communities. Conclusions:  The rural/remote children in this study had worse oral health than either state or national average in both the 5-6 year old and 11-12 year age group. Socioeconomic status, tooth-brushing and Aboriginal status were significantly associated with caries in these communities. To close the substantial gap in oral health outcomes between rural and metropolitan residents, approaches that target rural areas, Aboriginal people and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds are needed.

Key words: Aboriginal, Australia, dental caries, fluoridation, oral health.

Preventing caries in preschoolers: Successful initiation of an innovative community-based clinical trial in Navajo Nation Head Start

Preventing caries in preschoolers Successful initiation of an innovative community based clinical trial in Navajo Nation Head Start

Authors: David O. Quissell, Lucinda L. Bryant, Patricia A. Braun, Diana Cudeii, Nikolas Johs, Vongphone L. Smith, Carmen George, William G. Henderson, Judith Albino



Dental Benefits Guide: Non-Insured Health Benefits Program, November 2012

This guide provides information on the Health Canada Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program and its policies relevant to dental providers and clients. It explains the extent and limitations of the NIHB Program’s dental benefits by describing the important elements of each associated policy. It also lists website addresses to provide dental providers and clients quick access to related forms and more detailed Program information.

The guide is intended to supplement the information contained in the Dental Claims Submission Kit (http://www.provider.esicanada.ca/dentists.html) which explains the process for dental providers to submit claims for payment of services rendered to eligible First Nations and Inuit clients.

Link to online PDF document: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fniah-spnia/alt_formats/pdf/pubs/nihb-ssna/_dent/2012-guide/2012-prov-fourn-guide-sept-eng.pdf