Preventing baby bottle tooth decay in American Indian and Alaska native communities: a model for planning

Public Health Rep. 1989 Nov-Dec;104(6):631-40.


Baby bottle tooth decay (BBTD) is a preventable dental disease which surveys have shown affects more than 50 percent of Native American children. An experimental program to prevent BBTD was implemented in 12 Native American communities. The project represented a cooperative effort by three Department of Health and Human Service agencies: Administration for Children, Youth, and Families, Head Start Bureau; Indian Health Service, Dental Program; and Centers for Disease Control, Dental Disease Prevention Activity. Intervention strategies included the training of parent volunteers, health professionals, and the tribal employees who counseled caretakers of young children and made group presentations. There was also a media campaign in each community that ran for a 3-year period. Numerous educational materials were developed including training manuals, counseling booklets, tippee cups, posters, and bumper stickers. The BBTD project's planners encouraged tailoring the education materials and strategies to fit each community. Preliminary results documented statistically significant decreases in the prevalence of BBTD at the pilot sites. This multidisciplinary, comprehensive intervention offers a model for organizing members of minority communities to prevent health problems.

MeSH terms

  • Alaska
  • Bottle Feeding / adverse effects*
  • Child Care
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Caries / etiology
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Education / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Infant
  • Infant Care
  • Inuit*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Pilot Projects