Objectives: We examined the relationship between preventive well baby visits (WBVs) and the timing of first dental examinations for young Medicaid-enrolled children.
Methods: The study focused on children born in 2000 and enrolled continuously in the Iowa Medicaid Program from birth to age 41 months (n = 6322). The main predictor variables were number and timing of WBVs. The outcome variable was timing of first dental examination. We used survival analysis to evaluate these relationships.
Results: Children with more WBVs between ages 1 and 2 years and ages 2 and 3 years were 2.96 and 1.25 times as likely, respectively, to have earlier first dental examinations as children with fewer WBVs. The number of WBVs before age 1 year and the timing of the WBVs were not significantly related to the outcome.
Conclusions: The number of WBVs from ages 1 to 3 years was significantly related to earlier first dental examinations, whereas the number of WBVs before age 1 year and the timing of WBVs were not. Future interventions and policies should actively promote first dental examinations by age 12 months at WBVs that take place during the first year of life.