Objective: Oral health disparities are a significant public health issue in the United States (US). Individuals utilizing a free clinic for underserved populations are one of the at-risk populations for poor oral health. The purpose of this study was to describe and evaluate home oral health education classes provided at a free clinic. Methods: Data were collected by a pre-oral health class survey, field notes during a home dental health class and a post-oral health class survey at a free clinic from September to November 2017. Results: Twenty-three oral classes were offered. There were 61 participants in the classes in total. Among the class participants, 49 patients filled out the survey. Although the majority of the participants brushed their teeth regularly, they did not have much knowledge about the correct manner of brushing, including which tooth brushes and pastes were best to use. Flossing seemed to be less commonly practiced than brushing. Showing visual images and connecting oral health with overall body health seemed to be effective in providing the motivation for better oral health practices. Conclusions: Brief informal classes on home oral health practice seem to be feasible solutions and have potential to improve the oral health of patients of free clinics.
Akiko Kamimura, Clayton Booth, Mitch Johansen, Uriel Morales, Jeanie Ashby, Lea Erickson
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