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Am J Public Health. 2017 Apr;107(4):614-620. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303621. Epub 2017 Feb 16.

Impact of Early Head Start in North Carolina on Dental Care Use Among Children Younger Than 3 Years.

Author information

1
Jacqueline M. Burgette and Jessica Y. Lee are with the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. John S. Preisser Jr is with the Department of Biostatistics, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Morris Weinberger, Rebecca S. King, and R. Gary Rozier are with the Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the effects of North Carolina Early Head Start (EHS), an early education program for low-income children younger than 3 years and their families, on dental care use among children.

METHODS:

We performed a quasi-experimental study in which we interviewed 479 EHS and 699 non-EHS parent-child dyads at baseline (2010-2012) and at a 24-month follow-up (2012-2014). We estimated the effects of EHS participation on the probability of having a dental care visit after controlling for baseline dental care need and use and a propensity score covariate; we included random effects to account for EHS program clustering.

RESULTS:

The odds of having a dental care visit of any type (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.74, 3.48) and having a preventive dental visit (adjusted OR = 2.6; 95% CI = 1.84, 3.63) were higher among EHS children than among non-EHS children. In addition, the adjusted mean number of dental care visits among EHS children was 1.3 times (95% CI = 1.17, 1.55) the mean number among non-EHS children.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study is the first, to our knowledge, to demonstrate that EHS participation increases dental care use among disadvantaged young children.

PMID:
28207343
PMCID:
PMC5343690
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2016.303621
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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