Perception and Utilization of Oral Screenings and Fluoride Application in Medical Offices Following the Michigan Caries Prevention Program Training

J Dent Hyg. 2021 Feb;95(1):50-56.


Purpose: The Michigan Caries Prevention Program (MCPP) aimed to reduce the burden of childhood dental disease in the state of Michigan by offering training programs to implement preventive oral health services during well-child medical visits. The purpose of this study was to elicit feedback from the participants of the MCPP and determine which oral health services were implemented post-training, identify implementation barriers and assess provider comfort levels in performing oral screenings and fluoride applications.Methods: A descriptive electronic survey was utilized for data collection. A 15-item survey consisting of multiple choice and Likert scale questions was sent to medical providers who had participated in the MCPP from 2015-2017 (n=1115). Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.Results: A total of 170 surveys were completed for a 15% response rate. The majority of the participants were physicians (82%, n=134). Nearly all participants reported performing oral screenings and fluoride varnish application post-training (93%, n=153). Participants felt more comfortable applying fluoride varnish than performing oral screenings (80%, n=121 vs 70%, n=112), respectively. Barriers included lack of time, understaffed, staff resistance, feeling that procedures were outside of their scope of practice and disinterest from parents or safety concerns. A majority (70%, n=112) reported that the MCPP training did not help to establish new relationships with community dental providers.Conclusion: Medical providers indicate that the MCPP training was beneficial and that they were willing and able to incorporate oral health screenings and fluoride varnish applications in their practice, but that they face challenges in developing relationships with dental care providers. Opportunities for dental hygienists to work in non-traditional medical-dental integration practice settings may help to increase oral health services offered to patients and improve communication between health care providers.

Keywords: Michigan Caries Prevention Program; caries risk assessment; early childhood caries; fluoride; interprofessional collaboration; oral screening.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Dental Caries Susceptibility
  • Dental Caries* / diagnosis
  • Dental Caries* / prevention & control
  • Fluorides*
  • Humans
  • Michigan
  • Perception


  • Fluorides