Paediatric Oral health

67097 Healthy Teeth Brochure Tharawal 2011

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Reducing dental decay in young children through an antenatal intervention: A longitudinal cohort study of MIOH kids (MIOH kids)

Almost half of Australian preschool aged children experience tooth decay. Tooth decay can impact on a child’s ability to eat, sleep, learn and grow. Australian interventions to reduce childhood decay have focused mainly on the postnatal period, despite international evidence showing antenatal interventions can positively impact a child’s oral health.

This study will explore the long-term impact of an oral health intervention delivered to women during pregnancy, and establish if the intervention improves childhood oral health.

Funding is gratefully acknowledged from:

    • The Foundation for Children

Project team:

    • Assoc Prof. Ajesh George – Western Sydney University, SWSLHD, University of Sydney, Ingham Institute
    • Prof Maree Johnson – Australian Catholic University, Ingham Institute
    • Prof Hannah Dahlen – Western Sydney University
    • Dr Shilpi Ajwani – SLHD Oral health services, Sydney Dental Hospital, University of Sydney
    • Clinical Associate Prof Sameer Bhole – SLHD Oral health services, Sydney Dental Hospital, University of Sydney
    • Adjunct Assoc Prof Ravi Srinivas – SWSLHD Oral Health Services, Western Sydney University
    • Sharon Ellis – Campbelltown Hospital SWSLHD
    • Dr Albert Yaacoub – NBMLHD Oral Health Services

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Designing, implementing and evaluating an online early childhood oral health module (ECOH-M) for the Masters of Family Health at Western Sydney University

Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is the most common chronic disease among young children globally despite it being a preventable condition. Almost half of Australian children aged 5 years’experience childhood caries, with rates highest among families from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. ECC can lead to pain, swelling and hospitalization among children and can also negatively impact their functioning in terms of learning, speech and growth development.

To address ECC, there has been a lot of emphasis internationally on involving child health professionals such as child and family health nurses (CFHNs) in this area as they are in optimal positions to provide screening and oral health education to parents, carers and children. In Australia this led to the launch of the Early Childhood Oral Health (ECOH) program in 2007 using a model of shared responsibility facilitated through the use of the NSW Personal Health Record.This program provided parents and health professionals with increased access to health information to enable early identification of the disease and referral of affected children to appropriate oral health treatment services. The evaluation of the ECOH program showed that parents, as a consequence, had increased access to oral health information and also that CFHNs were incorporating the screening and referral of children to dental services into their practice. Currently training is provided to CFHNs by ECOH co-coordinators through face-face workshops post registration. However, there is no comprehensive education being provided in this area to nursing students undertaking their child and family health training. This study aims to address this by developing, implementing and evaluation Australia’s first oral health module for postgraduate CFHNs students at Western Sydney University. Having this initial education will help equip graduating CFHN’s with the necessary knowledge and confidence to promote infant oral health and support the ECOH

Funding is gratefully acknowledged from:

    • NSW Centre for Oral Health Strategy

Project team:

    • Dr Cathy Dixon – Western Sydney University, Ingham Institute
    • Sharlene Vlahos – Western Sydney University
    • Tanya Schinkewitsch – Western Sydney University
    • Assoc Prof. Ajesh George – Western Sydney University, SWSLHD, University of Sydney, Ingham Institute

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Developing a Dietitian Initiated program for oral health and eating disorders

The prevalence of eating disorders has increased globally in the last 30 years. In Australia, more than 1,000,000 people have an eating disorder (9% of the general population) with prevalence rates increasing in children and adolescents. The adolescent phase (ages 13-18 years) has been identified as the peak period of onset for eating disorders. Compromised nutritional intake as a result of restrictive and obsessive dieting and purgative behaviours can have a damaging and irreversible impact on oral health. Individuals with eating disorders are at an increased risk of tooth sensitivity, demineralisation and caries which may impede dietary intervention and treatment. These individuals are also five times more at risk of developing dental erosion than those without an eating disorder. These dental problems can lead to a decline in self-esteem, quality of life and social psychology, all of which can be detrimental during the adolescence period where there is a focus on aesthetic appearance and development of self-concept and identity.

It is now recognised internationally and by the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) that eating disorders is an oral health risk in the adolescent population, and dietitians should encourage good dental hygiene and provide oral health care advice to this population. Dietitians form part of the multidisciplinary primary care team and are therefore in an ideal position to provide education, conduct oral health assessments, identify complications and recommend nutritional interventions during inpatient consultations. Despite these recommendations, currently there is no evidence of interventions that assist in early identification, screening or oral health education of adolescents and young adults with eating disorders. While previous research has identified dentists to be in an ideal position for identifying and addressing the oral health issues of individuals with eating disorders, other studies have shown that some adolescents are more likely to be less trusting and hostile towards dentists due to dental anxiety.

The overall aim of this study is to develop a program inclusive of a screening tool and education guide focused on capacity building dietitians to provide oral health risk assessments, education and dental referrals to Australian adolescents and young adults (AYA) with eating disorders. This will be implemented in the following phases:

    Phase 1: Systematic review
    Phase 2: Current perceptions of dietitians towards oral health and eating disorders
    Phase 3: Perceptions of adolescents and young adults with eating disorders towards oral health
    Phase 4: Development of an oral health screening tool and education guide

Project team:

    • Tiffany Patterson Norrie – Western Sydney University, SWSLHD, Ingham Institute
    • Assoc Prof. Ajesh George – Western Sydney University, SWSLHD, University of Sydney, Ingham Institute
    • Dr Lucie Ramjan – Western Sydney University, Ingham Institute
    • Dr Mariana S. Sousa – Western Sydney University, SWSLHD, Ingham Institute
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