Oral health education of adolescents living in a residential foster home

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Bradley, Emily
Ebenkamp, Reagan
Smith, Alesia
Smith, Holly
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Problem Statement: The goal of this project is to improve the oral health of an under-served adolescent population (ages 10-18) in a residential foster home whose parents can no longer care for them. This vulnerable population lacks stable living conditions due to neglect, substance abuse, and family dysfunction. Oral health care remains some of the most difficult health services to access for children and teens in foster care. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that every child and teen entering foster care have a dental evaluation within 30 days of placement. Many dentists do not accept Medicaid; therefore, this population has little access to care and is more susceptible to dental decay, gingival, and periodontal disease. Purpose: The objectives of this project were to offer preventative educational modalities to a group of adolescents in a residential foster home in Wellington, Kansas, and their caregivers. Methods: Research was conducted utilizing fourteen published resources through databases such as PubMed, ProQuest, and Wiley online library. Research revealed 12.2% of people were living below poverty level in Wellington, Kansas, and there is only one dental clinic accepting Medicaid. Most children in the foster care system have medical and dental coverage only through Medicaid. Students from the dental hygiene program at Wichita State University provided an oral health education program about oral hygiene instructions, education about fluoride products, and proper nutritional habits at a foster home named AAHN�s Place (meaning pride). A PowerPoint presentation was given to both adolescents and caregivers (n=15), which included hands-on activities, brochures, and visual aid. Results: The adolescents and caregivers� knowledge of nutrition, home care, and fluoride improved through anecdotal findings. Of the various educational methods, the audience was most responsive to the video regarding the progression of decay and periodontal diseases, pamphlets, and the hands-on learning activity. Implications: For future access to care for children in the foster system, dental hygienists can provide care and education utilizing an Extended Care Permit. Kansas law allows dental hygienists to provide services directly to this population by using portable equipment to screen for disease, give oral health education, and refer to a dentist for further care. There are also programs in Kansas such as Miles of Smiles that offer dental services to children and adolescents from a mobile van or in schools. Only through these types of programs can oral health improve for adolescents who have no resources in foster care.

Presented to the 22nd Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum (URCAF) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 7, 2023.
Bradley, Emily; Ebenkamp, Reagan; Smith, Alesia; Smith, Holly. 2023. Oral health education of adolescents living in a residential foster home. -- In Proceedings: 22nd Annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p. 9
Wichita State University
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