An oral health promotion program for an urban minority population of preschool children

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2003 Oct;31(5):392-9. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0528.2003.00001.x.


The objective of this project was to design, implement and evaluate an oral health promotion program for inner-city Vietnamese preschool children in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The project comprised of four general phases: information-gathering, project planning, project implementation, and project evaluation. The information-gathering phase of the project demonstrated extensive tooth decay in young children, bottle use during the day and during sleep-time long past recommended weaning age, and a belief of many parents that primary teeth were not important. Based on this information, the project planning committee designed a program that featured one-to-one counseling supported by community-wide activities. A Vietnamese lay health counselor provided counseling to mothers with telephone follow-up that coincided with scheduled infant immunization visits to a twice-monthly Child Health Clinic for Vietnamese families. At all the follow-up assessment clinics scheduled over the 7-year duration of this continuing project, mothers who had had more than one counseling visit reported significantly less use of sleep-time and daytime bottles for their children, and their children demonstrated significantly reduced prevalence of caries compared to similarly aged children at baseline. One-to-one counseling with regular follow-up provided by a lay person of similar background and culture to the participants is an effective way to facilitate adoption of healthy behaviors and to improve oral health of children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Bottle Feeding / adverse effects
  • British Columbia
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Workers
  • Counseling
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups*
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Oral Health*
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Tooth, Deciduous / pathology
  • Urban Health*
  • Vietnam / ethnology