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Oral Health Disparities in Rural US Children

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  • Communication
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Political Science


Oral health in rural children is in need of significant improvement. The combination of a high prevalence of poverty, limitations of employment benefits, depressed population and economic growth, and decreased preventive care in rural regions all contribute to the problems in oral healthcare in rural areas. Current literature and programs show that community involvement is crucial in reducing the outcomes of poor oral health despite economic disadvantages. In this study, three Head Start offices of rural Pennsylvania are used as the community model to determine the extent of awareness and any additional need to change the behaviors of those who participate in the program. Results showed that in these three areas, Head Start staff needs to increase communication about oral health to parents and guardians. The implications of the study's findings indicate the need to allow communications to be based upon components of community building. The findings from this study are significant in public health since it enables a governmental backed program to be able to be spotlighted upon this pressing issue, which could allow for increased support to address this problem through larger studies representing the entire nation and further legislative actions. The multidimensional attributes of Head Start programs enables the key structures that make community assessments efficacious to be utilized while maintaining general regulations that are accommodating to a multitude of groups. Future actions could even successfully create a nation - wide mandate for dental health to be a part of a pre - screening regimen for children who are planning on enrolling into schools or daycares.

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