Dental school, foster care agency partnership improves child health, aids student training

October 21, 2012

A partnership between a New York City dental school and a local foster care agency has provided consistent dental care to more than 650 children, and may serve as a model for other dental school program curriculums. The success of Partners Against Caries (PAC), both for the participating foster children and dental school students, was outlined Oct. 21 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.

Poor dental and oral health can affect children's growth, school performance and attendance, and can contribute to physical and . Low-income children, especially those in foster care, are less likely to receive regular dental care, and as a result, face a greater risk of and myriad oral health related problems – from heart disease, diabetes and , to low self-esteem and depression. According to Healthy Foster Care America, approximately 35 percent of children and teens enter foster care with significant dental and oral health problems.

The abstract, "An Approach to Dental Healthcare in an Inner-City Foster Care Population: The Partners Against Caries (PAC) Program," describes the partnership, which shifted dental services for these children from multiple providers to a single "dental home" in the spring of 2011. The goal was to improve care quality and continuity for the participating foster children, and to provide a unique learning experience for dental students. Through PAC, the children, ages 18 months to 21 years, receive dental exams, cleanings, fluoride treatment and family education at two foster care facilities, as well as transportation and referrals to the college's for more complex care.

"The program has been a positive experience for the children and families in foster care, as well as for the dental students," said study author Elizabeth A. Best, MPH, of the department of , New York University College of Dentistry. "The pediatric patients enjoy receiving care from the young students, who are very engaged with the children."

For the dental students, the experience has been eye-opening, Best said. "Most of the dental students have little knowledge of the foster care system. We are now graduating dental students who have worked with this population, and are aware of their unique health care needs," Best said.

"Our exciting partnership not only addresses a heretofore gap in this service, but also serves as an invaluable tool for the – introducing them to a most vulnerable pediatric population," said co-author Mitchell Rubin, MD, FAAP. "We are so happy that the children are getting such wonderful care."

"We definitely think that other schools could benefit from a similar experience and curriculum," Best said.

Explore further: Poor oral health can mean missed school, lower grades

Related Stories

Poor oral health can mean missed school, lower grades

August 13, 2012
Poor oral health, dental disease, and tooth pain can put kids at a serious disadvantage in school, according to a new Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC study.

Racial gap in kids' dental care vanishing: study

July 5, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Since 1964, the disparity between black and white children's dental care has narrowed dramatically, a new study finds.

Many kids on medicaid don't see dentist: study

June 7, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Only about one-third of U.S. children on Medicaid receives dental care in a single year, and how often these kids see a dentist depends on where they live, a new study finds.

Recommended for you

Parents not confident schools can assist child with chronic disease, mental health

September 18, 2017
If your child had an asthma attack during the school day, would school personnel know how to respond?

Premature infants may get metabolic boost from mom's breast milk

September 14, 2017
The breast milk of mothers with premature babies has different amounts of microRNA than that of mothers with babies born at term, which may help premature babies catch up in growth and development, according to researchers.

Explaining bursts of activity in brains of preterm babies

September 12, 2017
The source of spontaneous, high-amplitude bursts of activity seen in the brains of preterm babies, which are vital for healthy development, has been identified by a team led by researchers at UCL and King's College London.

Why one teenager may need more—or less—sleep than another

August 30, 2017
Sleep problems contribute to a number of mental health issues in adolescents, researchers say. But a lingering question is whether some teens need more—or less—sleep than others to be healthy and at their best.

Study shows probiotics can prevent sepsis in infants

August 17, 2017
A research team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health has determined that a special mixture of good bacteria in the body reduced the incidence of sepsis in infants in India by 40 percent at ...

Children who sleep an hour less at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, says study

August 15, 2017
A study has found that children who slept on average one hour less a night had higher risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including higher levels of blood glucose and insulin resistance.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.