Preventing Tooth Decay in Hispanic Preschool Children

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Preventing Tooth Decay in Hispanic Preschool Children: Program Development School of Nursing
Health Teaching and Promotion

Preventing Tooth Decay in Hispanic Preschool Children: Program Development
Dental caries is a single most prevalent chronic infectious disease amongst US children (US Dept of Health and Human Services, 2000). Caries progression in younger children is more rapid and severe than in adults, resulting in the ailment known as Early Childhood Caries. According to National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) morbidity report almost 20% of children 2-5 years old had untreated dental caries (2012). In order to prevent tooth decay and promote good oral hygiene in young children, the community nurse will coordinate with East Los Angeles day care centers to hold a series of short classes for groups of parents 10-14 at a time just before the end of day care’s business day. These classes will focus on preventing caries development in preschool children by raising awareness amongst parents. The education will target Hispanic day care centers, and the goals of the program will be achieved by educating parents and their preschool children on factors that contribute to cavities formation, and strategies to prevent caries progression. Health Prevention Need

According to Dental Health Foundation (DHF) children in California have twice as much untreated dental caries as the rest of the nation (2000). DHF further indicates that national minorities are at higher risk to develop dental problems. Variables such as socioeconomic status and educational level directly correlate with the rates of the dental disease prevalence (US Dept of Health and Human Services, 2000). According to NCHS, almost 40% of Mexican children from families that are below 100% of poverty level have untreated dental issues. Additional factor that contribute to dental cavities progression is lack of insurance. More than quarter of Californian preschoolers and elementary school students have no dental coverage (DHF, 2000). The practice of giving a nocturnal bottle is still utilized by more than 30% of Californians, and is considered as most common factor that contributes to tooth decay (US Dept of Health and Human Services, 2000). Caries in children may be source of severe pain, interfere with learning, diminish overall quality of life, and potentially lead to life-threatening infections. Fortunately, dental caries is easily preventable by following basic oral hygiene strategies. However due to lack of knowledge and other socio-economic and cultural barriers, these guidelines frequently are not followed, and children suffer from tooth decay and associated problems. The goal of this educational course closely replicates oral health goals set by Healthy People 2020, which emphasizes importance of education and prevention (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012). A joint effort of public health professionals, day care centers personnel, and individual parents’ involvement can halt the progression of caries and prevent the tooth decay in children. Characteristics of Learners

This program will involve parents and their preschool children, and child care providers. Considering the geographical location of proposed courses (East Los Angeles), the most of the participating children are of Hispanic heritage, three to five years old; include both gender, and most likely bilingual. Piaget coined a term of preoperational intelligence to describe the cognitive learning in children ages 2 to 6 (Berger, 2008). Preoperational cognition, according to Piaget, denotes learning that occurs before understanding logical operations. Children’s cognitive processes at this age are magical and egocentric (Berger, 2008). Lev Vygotsky, in contrast to Piaget’s theory emphasized the social learning as an important part of knowledge formation. Vygotsky recognized the importance of guided participation in learning process of preschool children. He provided four...
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