Nav: Home

What outcomes are associated with early preventive dental care among Medicaid-enrolled children in Alabama

February 27, 2017

Preventive dental care provided by a dentist for children before the age of 2 enrolled in Medicaid in Alabama was associated with more frequent subsequent treatment for tooth decay, more visits and more spending on dental care compared with no early preventive dental care for children, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend children see a dentist at least once before they are a year old but limited evidence supports the effectiveness of early preventive dental care or whether primary care providers can deliver it. Despite a focus on preventive dental care, dental caries (tooth decay or cavities) are on the rise in children under the age of 5.

Justin Blackburn, Ph.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, and coauthors compared tooth decay-related treatment, visits and dental expenditures for children receiving preventive dental care from a dentist or primary care provider and those receiving no preventive dental care.

Authors analyzed Medicaid data from 19,658 children in Alabama, 25.8% of whom received preventive dental care from a dentist before age 2.

Compared with similar children without early preventive dental care, children receiving early preventive dental care from a dentist had:
  • More frequent tooth decay-related treatment (20.6 percent vs. 11.3 percent)
  • A higher rate of visits
  • Higher annual dental expenditures ($168 vs. $87)


Preventive care delivered by primary care providers was not significantly associated with tooth decay-related treatment or expenditures, according to the results.

The study had limitations, including that it doesn't measure other benefits of preventive dental care such as improved quality of life or include information on oral health behaviors such as teeth brushing. The study also doesn't include information regarding water fluoridation.

"Adding to a limited body of literature on early preventive dental care, we observed little evidence of the benefits of this care, regardless of the provider. In fact, preventive dental care from dentists appears to increase caries-related treatment, which is surprising. Additional research among other populations and beyond administrative data may be necessary to elucidate the true effects of early preventive dental care," the study concludes.
-end-
(JAMA Pediatr. Published online February 27, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.4514; available pre-embargo at the For The Media website.)

Editor's Note: The article contains funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Tooth Decay Articles:

Penn study: Blocking yeast-bacteria interaction may prevent severe biofilms that cause childhood tooth decay
In early childhood caries, a severe form of tooth decay that affects more than a third of toddlers in the US, yeast often partners with bacteria to form an intractable biofilm.
Tooth truth
Researchers have developed a new method to read imperfections in teeth caused by a lack of sunlight, creating a powerful tool to trace events ranging from human evolution and migration out of Africa to the silent damage of vitamin D deficiency that continues to affect 1 billion worldwide.
Energy decay in graphene resonators
An ICFO study in Nature Nanotechnology reveals a new way of energy dissipation in graphene nano-resonators.
Got a sweet tooth? Blame your liver
A hormone called FGF21 that is secreted by the liver after eating sweets may determine who has a sweet tooth and who doesn't, according to a study in Cell Metabolism published May 2.
Phobia of dentists leads to more decay and tooth loss, new study finds
People who have a severe fear of the dentist are more likely to have tooth decay or missing teeth, according to a new study from King's College London.
The most accurate measurement of rare meson decay confirms modern physics
Many scientists working on the LHCb experiment at CERN had hoped that the just achieved, exceptional accuracy in the measurement of the rare decay of the Bs0 meson would at last delineate the limits of the Standard Model, the current theory of the structure of matter, and reveal the first phenomena unknown to modern physics.
Rotting away: Getting at the evolutionary roots of wood decay
Fungi are master decayers of dead plant matter, including wood.
A non-proliferative signaling center kicks off tooth development
Despite extensive research on the molecular regulation of early tooth development, little is known about the cellular mechanisms driving morphogenesis prior to enamel knot formation.
Professor unveils first data on new dental fillings that will repair tooth decay
The first data on dental fillings that can actively repair tooth decay is presented by Professor Robert Hill.
Tooth decay -- drilling down to the nanoscale
With one in two Australian children reported to have tooth decay in their permanent teeth by age 12, researchers from the University of Sydney believe they have identified some nanoscale elements that govern the behavior of our teeth.

Related Tooth Decay Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...